The Sam Davies murder trial jury has been told that stabber Eimantas Gochman’s actions make “a mockery” of his claim of self-defence.
Gochman says he acted to protect himself as Mr Davies silently strode towards him in a Lincoln park with a knife.
But as prosecution barrister William Harbage QC began his closing speech at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday, March 24, he told members of the jury that the claim by the principal defendant in the seven-handed case just did not stack up.
The prosecution’s case is that Joe Jameson and Daniel Heydari arranged for Gochman to stab 23-year-old Mr Davies on May 27 last year in return for £5,000.
Messages were sent from Heydari’s phone to fellow defendant Billy Gill’s phone on the afternoon of the attack saying someone needed to be “dipped up” (stabbed) and “bad” (meaning either seriously or quickly).
Gochman’s mobile number was then sent from Gill’s phone along with messages apparently verifying Gochman’s suitability.
Mr Harbage told the jury: “The first person Eimantas Gochman calls [after the stabbing] is Joe Jameson – his paymaster.
“The second person he calls is Billy Gill – the fixer.
“The third person he calls is Charlie Wakefield, where he’s going to lie low for the next few days.
“He chucked the knife and sheath and Mr Davies’ phone on the way to Wakefield’s house.
“And according to [a 17-year-old defendant who cannot be identified for legal reasons] he told Charlie Wakefield that he had stabbed someone for five thousand pounds. ‘Five bags’ was the way [the boy] put it in his interview.
“According to [co-defendant] Eric Kesel, Charlie Wakefield told him that the following day.
“[Gochman] washes his clothes and disposes of the gloves. He lies low at Charlie Wakefield’s and then lied throughout his police interview.”
Mr Harbage added: “It doesn’t sound like somebody who was acting in self-defence, does it?”
The prosecutor reminded the jury that it wasn’t until January 21 – nine days after the start of the trial – that 20-year-old Gochman first put forward his self-defence account.
Mr Harbage called this “a little late in the day”.
He went on: “He’s listened to the evidence and that there was a little knife found at the scene which has got some of Sam Davies’ DNA on it and the logical conclusion is that Sam Davies was in possession of a knife that night.
“You may think that Gochman has used that story to weave that claim of his own – that Sam Davies launched an unprovoked attack on him and he had to act in self-defence.
“The problem for Gochman is that doesn’t make any sense – and I say that for a number of reasons.”
Mr Harbage said Mr Davies had been lured to the park, probably on either the pretext of buying drugs or meeting a friend – no one is sure.
“Why should he attack Gochman without any provocation?” he told the jury.
“Secondly, you know Gochman went to the park armed with a knife. How does that square with any claim of self-defence?”
And the court was reminded that, before the attack, Gochman had gone home to change into dark clothes – a black top with the hood up, a black face mask, dark bottoms and black shoes.
Referring to the time between Mr Davies arriving at the park and Gochman seen running away, Mr Harbage said: “And all this happened in 38 seconds.
“Sam Davies never stood a chance, did he?
“Gochman must’ve been lying in wait for him and ambushed him.
“Gochman said in evidence he wanted to catch Sam Davies off guard. That makes a mockery of his self-defence claim.
“You might consider he was the aggressor throughout.”
Mr Harbage asked the jury to consider that whoever sent the “dipped up” messages – Heydari claims it was Jameson and vice-versa – it mattered little whose “finger was on the button”.
The prosecutor said the two were acting together when they met up at Liquorice Park in Lincoln that afternoon.
And he added: “The very thing in the messages is what happened.
“The messages were sent about 5.15pm. And Sam Davies was, tragically, fatally injured – dipped up bad – five-and-a-half hours later.
“That’s the big picture in this case.”
All seven defendants face one count of murder, which they all deny.
They are Billy Gill, 21, of Hatcliffe Gardens; Eimantas Gochman, 20, of Sturton Close; Daniel Heydari, 25, of Chestnut Street; Joe Jameson, 24, of Whitehall Terrace; Eric Kesel, 19, of Browning Drive; and Charlie Wakefield, 21, of Broxholme Gardens.
A 17-year-old boy cannot be legally identified due to his age.
Jameson is also accused of making a threat to kill, which he denies.
— The trial continues.
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