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Grandfather seemed jittery, jury told

PUBLISHED: 09:50 05 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:31 03 July 2010

A neighbour of grandfather Alan Bowles - who choked to death on his own walking stick - told a jury yesterday how he had appeared upset and jittery when he last saw him just days before he was found dead.

A neighbour of grandfather Alan Bowles - who choked to death on his own walking stick - told a jury yesterday how he had appeared upset and jittery when he last saw him just days before he was found dead.

Mr Bowles's body was found at his home in Yarmouth Way, Yarmouth, after it has lain undiscovered for several days.

The 64-year-old, nicknamed “The Old Man”, suffered five fractured ribs and numerous bruises and had been smothered but died eventually when the walking stick was forced more than eight inches into his windpipe, a trial jury at Norwich Crown Court has been told.

David Comer, 39, of Broad Row, Yarmouth, and Kathleen Johnson, 57, and Paul Slack, 46, both of no fixed address, all deny murder.

Mr Bowles died in his flat in May last year.

Giving evidence, Val Socratos told the jury that he had called at Mr Bowles's home on May 25 last year. He said he was shocked when he saw Mr Bowles.

“He was upset and jittery. I had never seen him like that. He was crying,” he said.

He added that Mr Bowles had lost a lot of weight and would not stay still.

He said Slack and Johnson were in the flat and Mr Bowles was shouting abuse at Slack. He said Slack told him that Mr Bowles had gone for him with a knife and said: “This is the sort of thing I have to put up with.”

Mr Socratos said he always thought that Slack looked after Mr Bowles, although they did often bicker.

He said he left the flat as he did not want to get involved in any argument.

He later saw Slack and Johnson in a bar and had told Slack that he did not want to get involved in any disagreements.

Police community support officer Alison Holmes told the court that, while she was keeping observation watch on Slack after he was arrested, he had told her that he looked on Mr Bowles as his stepfather. He had also said that he knew he had taken a life but said it was an “eye for an eye”.

The case continues.


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