Accused 'offered to pay acquaintance £2,000 to remove David Miller's body' after another defendant 'pawned victim's ring' hours after murder, Northampton court hears

David Miller in a picture taken in 1990s
David Miller in a picture taken in 1990s

A defendant in the David Miller murder trial offered to pay an acquaintance £2,000 to remove the body left in the victim’s flat, the a jury at Northampton Crown Court was told.

Yesterday, Jason Smith, a man described as a member of the town’s street drinking community, gave evidence at Northampton Crown Court of which the four defendants were a part of.

Ian Cuthbertson, 49, Michael Hallett, 37, Joseph Catlin, 30, Zena Kane, 35, all deny the murder charges.

Mr Miller was killed in his flat some time between the evening of June 10 and morning of June 11 last year and the four defendants are accused of making crude attempts to dispose of the body in the days leading up to their arrests on June 14.

On the stand, Mr Smith was asked about events which took place on Monday, June 13 last year.

The jury heard that Mr Smith, who was living at the Oasis Hope Centre, met up with his friends Liam and Colin and went to a place on Ash Street known as ‘the pit stop’.

After a short while, he said, they were joined by “Mick, Zena and Joe”.

Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Smith: “What did one of them say to you?”

“Mick asked me to remove the body,” replied Mr Smith.

The jury heard that Hallett then asked Mr Smith to go round the corner with him so they could speak away from the group.

“What did he say they had done to the body?” asked Mr Joyce.

“They attacked him and hit him with rolling pins and things like that,” said Mr Smith.

Hallett then showed the witness his two swollen hands and said: “I punched his head in.”

Mr Smith said that Hallett told him that parts of the body had been removed.

When questioned as to why Hallett wanted Mr Smith to get rid of the body, the witness replied that it had “been there a couple of days”.

“What was Hallett asking of you?” asked Mr Joyce.

“He offered me £2,000 to remove it, or if I knew anyone who could, or knew of some place it could be put,” replied Mr Smith.

Upon hearing the request Mr Smith, cursed as he refused to be part of the crime. He turned and walked away, and he told the court that he had wanted nothing to do with Hallett in light of what he had heard.

The jury then heard that Kane, Hallett and Catlin left shortly afterwards, walking off in the direction of Barrack Road.

Prior to Mr Smith’s evidence, the court heard agreed evidence which consisted of CCTV footage, and a statement read by John Straw QC, prosecuting.

The CCTV footage showed Kane travelling from the town centre to the Lakeview area of Northampton around midday on Saturday, June 11.

A couple of hours later, CCTV video showed Kane on Abington Street walking towards H & T Pawnbrokers where, at 2.59pm, she sold a 22 carat gold ring which the prosecution alleges belonged to Mr Miller.

Mr Straw then read the evidence of the cashier at H & T Pawnbrokers who processed the transaction, in which she confirmed that Kane was the person seen in the CCTV images, and who received £115 cash in exchange for the ring.

When Dr Stuart Hamilton - the pathologist that carried out the postmortem examination of the body - took the stand on day two of the trial, he told the jury that he had recorded what appeared to be an indent on Mr Miller’s left index, which suggests that he had been wearing a ring.

However, he noted that no ring was present.

The trial continues.