Preston Adam Le Roi murder trial: "Highly inconvenient truths" for jurors to consider, says defence
The defence lawyer of an archaeologist accused of murder has suggested to jurors the victim had "advanced on him to join battle."
Connor Rumble, 26, of New Hall Lane, Preston, denies murdering Adam le Roi, 25, who died of shock and haemorrhage due to stab wounds to his left shoulder penetrating the axillary and pulmonary arteries.
Mr Le Roi, 25, was stabbed last November after he and his friend Christopher Johnson visited Rumble's flat in Kayley House to complain about alleged anti-social behaviour, leading to a fracas.
The prosecution says Rumble attacked an unarmed man with murderous intent.
But the defence argue the knife wound was sustained as Adam Le Roi, who had consumed alcohol and cocaine, advanced towards Connor Rumble at a time the defendant was backing away, brandishing the knife in an effort to maintain distance between them.
Lawyers suggest Rumble reacted to a situation where he and his friend were being attacked, and that CCTV of part of the incident indicates something happening "around the corner" out of view to make him act in the way he did.
Summing up the defence case to jurors at Preston Crown Court, Tim Storrie QC asked them again to watch the CCTV footage, and said: "It needs to be seen, it needs to be identified and it needs to be explained.
"It is a piece of evidence which will have lodged itself, perhaps seared itself, into your memories and it will have been the starting point from the start of the trial for a tumbling series of questions in your mind.
"It includes, apart from anything else, footage of Connor Rumble lunging at the outset or not quite the outset, towards Adam le Roi.
"And that ... attracts the observation of the prosecution that, but for doing that, none of this would have happened - but for the fact he had a knife none of this would have occurred.
"If you think for a minute that he doesn't know that then you've not understood Connor Rumble.
"His position you will have appreciated from the outset was shock and horror at what had occurred.
"His position is he wishes, for all that he can, that he could turn back time. He doesn't need the benefit of hindsight to persuade him that taking a knife into the corridor was folly because it led to the death of Adam Le Roi.
"But it is not that observation which is going to be useful to you in deciding guilt or innocence in this case.
"You know how you should approach the question of why he had a knife and why he did what he did.
"You, members of the jury, should judge what he did by reference to the circumstances that he understood he was in. You should judge him by what he thought was going on around him and by what he believed was necessary."
He said the content of the CCTV was "incredibly useful" as it told jurors "so much more about what was going on" off camera.
He added: "I asked you to consider the stance of Adam Le Roi as the door opens. When Christopher Johnson first passes through it is our first opportunity to see through the door and to see Adam Le Roi, whose back is towards the lift, his attention plainly towards someone who is out of view.
"It's one of those indicators that supports there is something ongoing, even before the event takes people through the lift door.
"It becomes apparent that the next sequence in what occurs is this: in the course of that he retreats, steps away from Adam Le Roi and goes back through the door, and Adam Le Roi... advances on him, and advances on him to join battle - to fight him.
"Adam Le Roi joined battle and the two came together closely and came together at speed and it's that detail that you might find useful when you look to see how these wounds occurred."
He also told jurors there were several "highly inconvenient truths" to consider, adding: "But for the knife Adam le Roi and Christopher Johnson would never have left or they would have left at a time of their choosing.
" But for the knife the assault on Grant Gardner when he was on the floor being punched and then kicked would have continued.
"But for the knife the list of injuries you've been taken through, that shows Grant Gardner and Connor Rumble took a beating, would have been worse.
"But for the knife Christopher Johnson would never have tugged at his friend.
"So as you go please don't forget what it is to be young, to wonder how you would react to this sort of unfolding situation, and please don't forget those points made in his defence."
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