Court told that Chris West was ‘killed in cold blood’ as prosecution makes closing statement to jury
- Credit: Archant
A jury has been told there is “no dispute that Kai Nazir had a lock knife and stabbed Chris West” at the Monkfield Arms pub in October last year.
Judge David Farrell QC was issuing his legal directions to the jury at Cambridge Court on Tuesday at the end of eight days of evidence.
Kai Nazir, 20, of The Crescent, in St Neots, is charged with the murder of Mr West and also faces counts of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to Mr West’s friend Daniel Berryman, who suffered a life-threatening stab injury that night. Nazir denies all the charges against him, including a fourth count of having a bladed article.
Judge Farrell told the jury of eight men and four women: “This is a case in which emotions will run high - put them to one side. Sympathy and emotion must play no part in your deliberations.
“There is no dispute that the defendant had a knife and stabbed Mr West – what you have to decide is whether he acted unlawfully and not in reasonable self defence.”
Judge Farrell also pointed out that one of the stab wounds to Mr West’s chest was “strikingly similar” to the stab wound inflicted on Mr Berryman. He said it was the prosecution’s case that the size and location of the wounds was no coincidence and it has been suggested: “it was the same person who stabbed both victims”.
The defence case hinges on identity in the case of Mr Berryman and whether Nazir was attacked by a group of men outside the Monkfield Arms and was defending himself in respect of Mr West.
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“It is the defence case that it was not the defendant who stabbed Mr Berryman,” said Judge Farrell.
He told the jury they needed to be sure that if it was the defendant who stabbed Mr Berryman that he intended to kill him or cause him serious bodily harm.
Judge Farrell said the jury were entitled to draw inference from Nazir’s failure to give evidence, but they could not convict him on that failure alone.
In the prosecution’s closing statement, Angela Rafferty QC told the jury the fun of the Halloween party at the Monkfield Arms that night “turned into real horror and she said: “Fake blood became real”.
She added: “That night stopped the clock for Chris West forever and it is nothing short of miraculous that he [Nazir] did not kill Daniel Berryman as well.
“You have heard from 24 witnesses yet Kai Nazir has said nothing to you. He has nothing to say that could help him. He is relying on Miss Forshall to muddy the waters because he knows very well what he did on October 28.”
Mrs Rafferty described the attack on Daniel Berryman as “totally unexpected”.
“There was no lead up to this, there was a good atmosphere in the pub that night - and nothing to justify this brutal and merciless blow right in the chest.”
She continued: “It was only quick treatment that saved Daniel Berryman’s life as he was minutes from death. Aiming for a major organ that keeps someone alive is only going to have one effect. It is simple and clear that Kai Nazir intended to kill Mr Berryman.”
Mrs Rafferty told the jury that had Nazir given evidence at the trial she would have asked him about comments he made in custody about “pinning this on my mental illness”. She also told the jury Nazir had a collection of knives and a history of violence and confrontation with strangers.
As she reached the conclusion of her closing statement, Mrs Rafferty said: “Mr West did not stand a chance. Twelve stab wounds does not come close to self defence. You cannot stab a man with a lethal weapon 12 times and claim it was reasonable behaviour. Nazir took a step towards a man and killed him cold blood.”
The jury heard that Nazir had wild swings of mood in the hours after his arrest, sometimes laughing and joking and asking to go home and see his mum, but later, when he was questioned by police at 10am on October 28, he said he could not remember what had happened.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), Isabella Forshall will make her closing statement on behalf of the defence. The jury will then hear from Judge Farrell who will sum up the case and then the jury will be sent out to consider its verdict.