‘Find them not guilty,’ jury told

LAWYERS for two of the men accused of murdering Forest Town man Jonathan Turner during a town centre attack said a third defendant had delivered the final kick which killed him.

Three Eastern European men allegedly assaulted Mr Turner (27) outside the Vibe Bar, Stockwell Gate, on 7th May last year, after he was heard by onlookers to make a racist comment to them.

Witnesses said Mr turner collapsed after co-accused Vjaceslavs Solovjovs kicked him to the head - he later died of brain injuries.

Bagdas Kilic (22), of Westfield Lane, Mansfield, Solovjovs (23), of Terrace Road, Mansfield, and Andrej Novakov (21), of Kipling Street, Mansfield, all deny murder.

Shaun Smith QC and Robert Fortune QC told a jury at Nottingham Crown Court this week their clients had no murderous intent during the attack and should not be found guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Mr Smith, for Kilic, and Mr Fortune, for Novakov, both said the jury should return verdicts of violent disorder.

To bring the lesser charge the jury would have to establish that a member of the public of ‘reasonable firmness of mind’ would fear for their personal safety when on the scene.

Both lawyers called on the evidence of prosecution witness Dr Guy Rutty, chief forensic pathologist for the East Midlands.

Mr Smith, reading from Dr Rutty’s evidence, said: “There was a key event – a final kick to the head. That was the most significant if not the causative injury in this case.”

He argued the doctor’s evidence showed it was Solovjovs’ final kick to Mr Turner’s head which caused the large brain bleed and led to his death and not the mild blows which the pathologist said had been delivered prior to it.

Mr Smith reminded the jury of all the evidence they had heard from Turkish national Kilic about the persecution he had suffered in Turkey and Mansfield and that on the night of the assault Mr Turner’s comment had caused ‘the glass to be full’ in Kilic’s own words.

He said: “You never really know a person until you have stepped inside his shoes.

“Ask yourself is it really beyond the realms of possibility he (Kilic) lost self-control?”

Mr Fortune said it was impossible to say whether the kick Lithuanian-born Novakov aimed at Mr Turner had connected with his head and that the blow Solovjovs delivered at the end of the fight was ‘fundamentally different’ to anything that had come before that point.

Said Mr Fortune: “Should Mr Novakov have realised Mr Solovjovs would now come and aim a kick at Jonathan Turner’s head? The answer, we suggest, is plainly not.”

He said the prosecution had to prove Novakov had taken part in joint enterprise with his co-accused.

“Unless you can say ‘I am sure Mr Novakov realised there was a risk of a serious kick to the head’ then you cannot find him guilty of joint enterprise,” said Mr Fortune.

Stuart Rafferty QC, defending Latvian-born Solovjovs, told the jury it was hard to say whether his kick had connected with Mr Turner as some of the witnesses said they had turned away as he got closer to Mr Turner and on the CCTV footage taken from outside the Vibe it was difficult to tell individuals apart from each other.

Mr Rafferty also called on Dr Rutty’s evidence. He said: “He (Professor Rutty) could not exclude that it was any other kick. We are not dealing with a single kick or blow.”

He said in the last 4.3 seconds of the fight there were potentially four kicks to Mr Turner.

“The prosecution established that any of those kicks could have killed Jonathan Turner. Unless you are convinced then Mr Solovjovs gets the benefit of the doubt,” said Mr Fortune.

He said even if Solvjovs’ kick had landed it was possible he had been acting in self-defence of Kilic and he should be found not guilty of murder - that finding him guilty of manslaughter was the furthest the jury could go.