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Great Yarmouth murder trial: pubs and pool league ban for jurors

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 March 2013

Bricklayers Arms pub on Nelson Road Central and Victoria Road in Great Yarmouth.

Bricklayers Arms pub on Nelson Road Central and Victoria Road in Great Yarmouth.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013

Five people accused of murdering a man outside a Great Yarmouth pub face a six-week trial, Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday.

Victim Ian Church, 40, was attacked in the street near the Bricklayers Arms in the early hours of May 5, 2012.

He died at the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston two days later.

Three men from Yarmouth and a man and woman from Kent stand accused of murder after the incident in Nelson Road Central - a charge they all deny.

And Judge Peter Jacobs heard how a web of Yarmouth pubs and pool teams, along with up to 39 individuals to be named in the case, mean a verdict is unlikely to be reached before mid-April.

The defendants are Yarmouth men Todd Esherwood, 24, of Saxon Road, Tony Smith, 29, of Sidney Close, Stuart Layden, 30, of South Quay and Kent pair Kelly Taylor, 33, of Harris Road, Sheerness and Roy Smith, 31, of Ranelagh Road, Sheerness.

Esherwood is also charged with ABH, and Tony Smith, Taylor and Layden face a joint ABH charge.

Judge Jacobs said: “This trial is hoped to complete by mid-April, but could go on until the end of the month.”

Potential jurors were barred from joining the jury if they mixed in certain circles in Yarmouth.

Nicola May, for the prosecution, said regulars of eight named Yarmouth pubs could not become jurors in the trial.

These were the Pier Tavern at Britannia Pier, the Suspension Bridge, The Recruit, The Jockey, The Recruiting Sergeant, Merlin’s Sports Bar, the Alexandra pub and the Bricklayers Arms.

Ms May added involvement with the Carling Winter pool league would rule potential jurors out.

And they must not have any connection with three named pool teams – the Apollo Tavern, the Duke of Wellington and the Jockey Club.

The public gallery was packed with family members of the defendants as the 12-strong jury was selected at random and sworn in, along with two reserves.

No evidence was heard yesterday, as the jury was allowed to go for the day and legal wrangles were heard.

The prosecution will outline its case this morning as the case continues.

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