The prosecution lawyer in the Jamie McMahon murder trial has said the defendant has chosen not to give evidence because he is “afraid” that he won’t be able to answer some of her questions.
Today (Tuesday) Yvonne Coen, prosecuting, made her closing speech in the case of Michael Francis, aged 33, of St James Road, who denies murdering and robbing Mr McMahon, whose body was found in St Giles Churchyard on October 2 last year.
Ms Coen said Francis was the “only person in the courtroom” who could tell the jury what had happened.
Ms Coen said: “There has been no reason put forward as to why this fit and attentive man can’t tell you what happened.
“In my opinion there can be only two reasons why he has chosen not to give evidence. One is that he thinks his defence barrister will do a better job of presenting his story.
“The other is that he is afraid he can’t answer some of the questions that arise from the answers he gave in his police interview.”
Ms Coen said Francis’s behaviour after the attack on Mr McMahon suggested that “nothing serious or untoward” had happened in the churchyard as he walked home with Mark Lewis, who has pleaded guilty to murder and robbery.
She said: “There was nothing to suggest anything horrific or unexpected had happened. Both men took it in their stride and even stopped at a BP garage to spend some of the money stolen from Jamie.”
Ms Coen also questioned Francis’s story that he had gone into town with Lewis to try to “cadge” a cigarette off someone.
The prosecutor pointed out that CCTV footage showed the two men walking past a number of people who they could have asked for a cigarette but they did not stop until they got to St Giles Churchyard.
The lawyer also questioned Francis’s statement that he had sat on the bench next to McMahon as an ingrowing toenail was giving him pain as she pointed out that CCTV footage of the pair walking two miles home did not suggest he was limping or in any discomfort.
Earlier on Tuesday, a number of police statements made by Mark Lewis were read out to the jury.
Lewis admitted in his final statement to police that he had “flipped” and kicked Mr McMahon many times in the head.
The 19-year-old, of Clickers Drive, accepted that he inflicted the fatal injuries but claimed that he asked Francis if they should call an ambulance and he told him not to as McMahon was just unconscious.
Lewis also said that Francis was the one who took Mr McMahon’s wallet and iPhone out of his pocket.
Francis denies robbery and murder. The trial continues.