Closing speeches at trial of Yarmouth man accused of murder

Photo of Joe Pooley in dark tee shirt

Joe Pooley, from Ipswich, who was found in the River Gipping - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

Closing speeches are being heard at the trial of a Great Yarmouth man accused of "ganging up" with three others to kill a 22-year-old.

The body of Joe Pooley was found in the River Gipping outside Ipswich more than two years ago. The cause of his death was immersion in water. 

Sean Palmer, 30, of South Market Road in Great Yarmouth, as well as Becki West-Davidson, 30, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, Sebastian Smith, 35, of no fixed address, and Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Hawick, Roxburghshire, have all denied murdering Mr Pooley on or before August 7, 2018. 

Barrister Stephen Rose, representing West-Davidson, began his closing speech to the jury on Tuesday (February 2) as the lengthy murder trial draws to a close. 

Mr Rose said there was "no plan" between West-Davidson and Sebastian Smith. He spoke of West-Davidson's lack of contact following the alleged murder. 

"The simple point is this," he said. "She would have wanted to know the outcome of her so-called plan. 

"She would have wanted to know if it had gone smoothly, are the police looking for us? All those questions." 

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Mr Rose also said that several key pieces of evidence in the prosecution case were given to police by West-Davidson. 

The prosecution has alleged that all four defendants had a role to play in events that caused Mr Pooley's death. 

It is alleged that West-Davidson’s anger with Mr Pooley, over comments he was said to have made about her and Lisa-Marie Smith, “stoked up hostility towards him”.

It is also alleged that West-Davidson had encouraged others to attack Mr Pooley at the riverside, and that Sebastian Smith and Palmer attacked him and threw his body into the River Gipping. 

Prosecutors have claimed West-Davidson “tried to cover up” the alleged murder by deleting a number of Facebook messages, including one in which Mr Pooley asked her to “call off the hit”.

Palmer, West-Davidson and Lisa-Marie Smith all chose not to give evidence during the trial.

The estimated eight-week trial began on October 14 across two courtrooms, due to restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

All the defence closing speeches are expected to conclude at the end of this week.