9:15am Tuesday 18th December 2012
By George Sargent
JURY members in the James Green murder trial have been told their verdict will hinge on a key piece of evidence over a knife found in a bush.
The 29-year-old, of Holly Court, Northfleet, was stabbed to death outside his front door on July 21 by Tommy Presley.
While the 18-year-old admits killing the father-of-five, he denies murder, claiming he was acting in self-defence. A 17-year-old boy also denies murder.
Officers investigating the death found a large blade in bushes near Presley’s home.
Pathologists have disagreed over whether or not this could have been the weapon used to kill Mr Green.
Home Office pathologist Dr Robert Chapman said the blade of this knife was too wide to have caused Mr Green’s wounds. No DNA or blood was found on the blade.
But another pathologist, Dr David Rouse, said there was still a slim chance this could have been the knife used to stab the victim three times in the chest.
Prosecutors claim Presley planned the attack and used his own knife on Mr Green after believing the victim to be a police “grass”. They say the killer carefully disposed of the weapon following the death.
But defence lawyer Eleanor Laws told jurors on Friday the knife in the bush was Mr Green's and that Presley was forced to use it in self-defence.
Ms Laws said: "James Green is a man who doesn't mind walking around with a knife and arming himself with it.
"He (Presley) has accepted that he started the fight but on a man who wanted the fight to continue.
"And he ended up killing him with that man's knife.
"His mind was in a frenzy.
"Why would he wait until one in the morning to dispose of the knife as the prosecution suggests?
"You have to be sure he took a knife with him to convict.
"If you convict them, it would be a tragic waste of two more lives."
Earlier in the trial, jury members heard how the victim was harassed on the Hive estate for being a "grass".
The prosecution claims this came after Mr Green was arrested and released by police, following a disturbance, while a friend was jailed.
Witnesses say they saw the two defendants beating up Mr Green, hours before he died while Mr Green yelled "I’m not a grass".
CCTV was also shown of people, including the 17-year-old defendant, surrounding Mr Green as he hid in Northfleet Food and Wine, in Northfleet High Street, six days before he was killed.
Prosecutor Andrew Espley also told the court CCTV showed Presley and his co-accused leaving the scene "looking cool as a cucumber".
He said Presley went to a friend’s house after the killing and stayed playing PlayStation games there until the early hours of the morning.
When he arrived home he did not tell his mother about the stabbing.
He also repeatedly lied to police about his involvement in the death, in interviews and in a signed statement.
The jury of seven women and four men is still considering its verdict.
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