Christopher Allbury-Burridge murder trial: Northampton cannabis grower fatally stabbed by four men in attempted drug robbery, jury hears

Court hears what happened on the night of the attack in December 2020 for the first time

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:25 pm

A Northampton cannabis grower was fatally stabbed by four men as they tried to get into his home to steal his drugs, a court heard today (Tuesday, August 3).

Northampton Crown Court has heard what happened on the night of Christopher Allbury-Burridge's murder for the first time as the trial gets underway.

The 33-year-old died from a stab wound to the chest at his house in Raeburn Road, Kingsley, in the early hours of December 11, 2020.

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Christopher Allbury-Burridge

The accused are: Joel Cyrus, 26, of Whitney Road, Leyton; Calum Farquhar, 24, of Liverpool Road, Leyton; Rakeem Leandre, 26, of Brewers Court, Norwich; and Jordan Parker, 24, of Chingford Road, Walthamstow.

All four men have been charged with murder and conspiracy to rob - Parker has pleaded guilty to possessing a knife.

James House QC, prosecuting, said: "The stabbing was committed by Jordan Parker, he has now admitted as much, but he was acting together with the other defendants.

"They all shared a common goal and they were prepared to use serious violence to achieve it.

"Their goal was to rob Christopher Burridge of the cannabis he was growing in the upstairs bedroom of the house."

On December 11, 2020, the quartet travelled to Northampton from London in two cars, having come to the county twice earlier that month on reconnaissance trips, including a late-night visit to Raeburn Road.

How they knew Mr Allbury-Burridge had cannabis growing in his spare bedroom is unknown but they came armed with at least two weapons, Mr House said.

That afternoon, Mr Allbury-Burridge and his partner had dinner together before he went to his cousin's home nearby for the evening.

The partner washed up after dinner, leaving the crockery and cutlery by the sink, before going to bed at around 10.15pm, leaving only the landing lamp on.

Mr Allbury-Burridge returned shortly before 1am and was sitting in the lounge with a lamp on when one of the windows was smashed from the outside around an hour later.

Mr House said this was done by one of the quartet to distract the occupant while the other three went to the back kitchen door, smashing the upper window to try to get in but failed as the door was deadlocked.

Mr Allbury-Burridge went to the back door and started throwing whatever came to him first at the intruders, which was the washed-up crockery and cutlery as well as the plastic drainer.

He also shouted: "Get the f*** out... house," which his partner heard after being awoken by the 'rumbling' and 'chaos' downstairs.

Despite his efforts, Mr Allbury-Burridge was stabbed by Parker through the window, the blade going 21cm into his chest, causing him to collapse onto the kitchen floor.

His partner looked out of the bedroom window, which looks over the front of the house, and saw three men running away - one of them turning and laughing - before they drove back to London.

She called out for Mr Allbury-Burridge but got no reply so she grabbed a weights bar and went downstairs, through the living room and into the kitchen where she found him.

The partner called Mr Allbury-Burridge's cousin, his housemate and another friend in a panic before ringing 999 and the emergency services arrived soon after but the victim was announced dead at the scene.

Mr House said: "There's a good reason why those inclined to such conduct rob those who grow and sell cannabis.

"If they succeed the person they rob is never going to complain to the police as they risk their own arrest for producing and selling drugs.

"This is considered a safe robbery and the involvement of the police is when they try to defend their drugs and get seriously hurt or killed.

"That's what this case is about. These four set out to rob Christopher Burridge of his cannabis.

"When they got to the house it was obvious it was occupied but they had travelled all the way from London, they weren't going to let that stop them."

Police found a knife sheath outside the house, which had Parker's DNA on, and were able to track down the attackers by following ANPR camera and mobile phone mast data.

Cyrus and Farquhar were arrested on December 14, Parker two days later with flight tickets to Antigua and Leandre the next day in Norwich.

Cyrus admitted going to the house thinking it was derelict with Parker and two unnamed men to steal the cannabis.

But he did not go around the back of the house as he could not get over the gate due to a knee injury, but he ran away when others came back as they said someone was there.

Parker then told him he stabbed the occupant but he 'would not let anyone go down for what he did'.

But he did not say that to police, only saying the sheath could have been moved and the flights were legitimate.

Parker later admitted having the knife and stabbing Mr Allbury-Burridge but it was an accident as he tried to get out of the door.

Farquhar and Leandre gave no comments in interview but have 'jumped on the bandwagon' of thinking the house was derelict, Mr House said.

But the prosecutor said this was 'nonsense' as it would have been obvious to anyone that the house was occupied.

"When these four attacked, they knew perfectly well it was occupied and they knew they would need to use force to rob the cannabis," he told the jury.

The trial continues.