Northampton murder trial: Four defendants made 'ridiculous' attempt to avoid responsibility for killing Christopher Allbury-Burridge, jury hears

'It is a last gasp defence and when you do look at it with care, it crumbles to ash'

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 5:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 5:42 pm

Four friends on trial for murdering a Northampton man have made up a ridiculous story to avoid taking responsibility, their jury heard today (Wednesday, September 8).

Joel Cyrus, Calum Farquhar, Rakeem Leandre and Jordan Parker deny murdering Christopher Allbury-Burridge at his home on Raeburn Road on December 11, last year.

The quartet claim the 33-year-old was accidentally stabbed as Parker tried to break into the property, which they thought was empty, to steal cannabis plants growing inside.

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Christopher Allbury-Burridge

James House QC, prosecuting, accused them of lying while summing up his case to the jury after hearing all of the evidence at Northampton Crown Court over the past five weeks.

"Common sense demonstrates that these four defendants have done all they can to pull the wool over your eyes as it's the only way they can escape from the decisions they took on that night," he said.

"It is a last gasp defence and when you do look at it with care, it crumbles to ash."

Mr House went through every instance where he claimed the evidence did not stack up with what the four defendants told the jury or where they have withheld information.

Elements of their statements to the police, the jury and what they said on the stand that were different were brought up by the prosecutor to suggest they cannot be trusted.

Those included not mentioning the fifth person, called Dele, who went with them to steal the cannabis plants or that some of them had done it previously.

The quartet also could not tell the jury any details about numerous phone calls they had between them.

The prosecutor said it was 'ridiculous' that none of them could recall such details and simply they did not want to share that information as they were talking about their plan to rob Mr Allbury-Burridge.

Nor would they reveal who told them to do the job and that the house would be empty, as they all said they were surprised when they found out it was occupied.

Mr House said: "This man has provided them with thoroughly wrong information, it's entirely his fault that they are sitting here so give the police his name and let the police investigate him."

As for the actual stabbing that killed Mr Allbury-Burridge, Parker claims he waved a knife, which he thought was in a sheath, towards the victim to ward him off as he was halfway into his kitchen through the back door.

But Mr House called his explanation 'a ridiculous attempt to avoid responsibility for what he and his friends did' as it would require Mr Allbury-Burridge to walk 21cm into the blade.

Also there was no reasonable explanation from Parker as to why there was crockery and cooking appliances in the garden with the victim's blood on.

"Christopher Allbury-Burridge of course should not have been growing cannabis but he did not deserve to be killed by this group of mates in an attempted robbery knowing no complaint would be made," the prosecutor said.

"But Chris was prepared to do what was necessary to protect his investment to fight off those who came around to rob him and his played with his life.

"This was not an accident, this is no simple conspiracy to steal... They have done everything to avoid admitting the full extent of what they were doing."

The accused are: Cyrus, 26, of Whitney Road, Leyton; Farquhar, 24, of Liverpool Road, Leyton; Leandre, 26, of Brewers Court, Norwich; and 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.

The trial continues.