David Brickwood: Northampton scrap dealer's family say they feel 'back at square one' with sudden end of murder trial
"They called me to tell me the verdicts and I just put the phone down. I sat there and cried my eyes out"
Dale Brickwood says the first time he's heard his dad's voice in years was last week - when a courtroom was played his father's distressed 999 call.
The jury only heard at most three seconds of David Brickwood's voice during the evidence over his murder trial. And it was him saying: "Help me, police, police." Then he hung up.
"Hearing him on the answer phone in court was the first time I've heard his voice in years," said Dale.
"The last time I had spoken to him was on the day before he was murdered.
"I had to leave the court for an hour. I couldn't handle it."
The 74-year-old scrap dealer, who was a grandfather of 10, was stabbed to death at his home in Lindsay Avenue on September 26, 2015.
Five years later, in 2020, Cameron St Rose, of Bristol Street, Forest Gate, was charged with David's murder.
But at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday (April 28), after five days of hearing the prosecution's case, His Honour Judge Edward Pepperall called a halt to the trial.
He ruled that the DNA evidence - which formed the centre of the prosecution's case - was not enough to prove the defendant had been at the house in person. Before noon that day, St Rose was found not guilty and told he was free to go.
"We're back at square one," said Dale's wife Kelly. "But it feels even worse. In the space of a week it's spun around and it's over again."
The jury heard how Mr Brickwood's killers entered the home by removing a whole glass pane from a ground floor window before climbing in, forcing open the grandfather's bedroom and attacking him.
Mr Brickwood initially survived the attack and called 999 himself. Bodyworn footage from police officers who arrived at the house showed how the 74-year-old stood waiting by the same window, bleeding heavily from his injuries.
Outside his father's house, Dale Brickwood spoke to the Chronicle & Echo while stood next to the same window the murderers used to get inside.
"We've been through so much. I had to watch that video of my dad at the window, bleeding. And the 999 call of my dad dying on the phone.
"They called me to tell me the verdicts and I just put the phone down. I sat there and cried my eyes out.
"What are we supposed to do now?"
The trial was halted because the prosecution could not prove St Rose was at the scene in person. The jury heard that the DNA sample found was likely not much more than a few skin cells. The defence argued successfully that it could not be said if the the London man had left it there himself or, for example, by someone wearing a pair of gloves that St Rose had worn at some point.
For the Brickwoods, it makes it hard to believe when - or if - the culprits will be brought to justice.
Dale said: "No one does the perfect crime. There has to be something. But where do you go from here?
"You never know. If we keep going, someone who might known something and it will prick their conscious."
During the trial, the court heard tribute after tribute from the grandfather's family, friends and neighbours who repeatedly said what a kind person he was.
One from David's son, Nathan, read: "My dad was the backbone of the family. Everybody loved him.
"He would give you the shirt off his back. He bought bags of shopping for neighbours who were struggling. He would stop and chat with whoever walked by. He made time for everybody. He was a pinnacle part of Abington."