John-Paul Johnson murder trial: Jury out in trial of Mansfield halfway house killing

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A JURY has begun deliberating in the trial of a man accused of taking part in the killing of 42-year-old John-Paul Johnson at a halfway house in Mansfield last October.

After the case was summed up this morning (Thursday - day eight of the trial), Judge Michael Stokes sent out the Nottingham Crown Court jury to begin discussions after hearing all the evidence.

Two men, Carl Green (25) and Christopher Buckland (30), have already admitted the murder of Mr Johnson but tenant Daniel Bastable (20) denies the charge.

It is alleged that Bastable, who was a fellow resident at the halfway house for vulnerable people on Chesterfield Road South, stamped on Mr Johnson after he had already been attacked by Green and Buckland.

Before the jury retired, both the defence and prosecution cases were summed up by Stuart Rafferty QC and Tim Spencer QC who was defending Bastable.

Mr Spencer told the jury yesterday that they should approach a verdict in a ‘cold, clinical and dispassionate way’ and that, although many accusations could be thrown at Bastable, he was not a murderer.

“Green and Buckland are trying to shift the blame to have their own sentences reduced, they are flawed sources, you must have grave concerns, they are trying to shirk responsibility,” he told the jury.

“There is absolutely no support whatsoever from the scientific evidence for what is said about Danny Bastable stamping.”

Mr Spencer said that the defendant had lied out of fear and he had been intimidated by older men in the house they shared.

“He was 19, I am not parading this as a defence but the point is that this is is not a mature, dominant person, this is a baby if you like, a boy amongst men. It fits with him cowering on the bed,” added Mr Spencer.

“The prosecution cannot salvage a murder prosecution simply because of lies - lies by themselves cannot make a case, innocent people lie through fear to protect others.

“You may want to censor him on a moral level but that doesn’t amount to murder.”

Mr Rafferty told the jury that the attack was ‘savage, prolonged, merciless and unjustified’.

He said that when Bastable told tenant Brian Hurst to keep quiet about the attack the next morning, it was an admission of guilt.

Summing up the case today, Judge Stokes reminded the jury that Mr Johnson had died from multiple fractures to his chest which had damaged his spleen, heart, liver and lungs.

“Carl Green and Christopher Buckland may think they have something to gain in giving evidence, bare that in mind, but that does not mean they are incapable of telling the truth,” said Judge Stokes.

“Although Daniel Bastable did not give evidence on oath, that doesn’t mean that the burden on the crown (prosecution’s case) is diluted - consider what Daniel Bastable said in police interviews, as the defence points out he denied taking part in violence all the way through.”

Judge Stokes also pointed out that 34 hours had passed between Bastable’s first police interview and a later police interview where he conceded that Green had started the assault.