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Murder accused admits kidnap

PUBLISHED: 17:35 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:39 06 July 2010

Ben Kendall

One of the accused in the Simon Everitt murder trial has admitted kidnap as the jury prepared to consider their verdict. Jimi-Lee Stewart pleaded guilty to the charge while fellow defendants Jonathan Clarke and Maria Chandler pleaded not guilty.

One of the accused in the Simon Everitt murder trial has admitted kidnap as the jury prepared to consider their verdict.

Jimi-Lee Stewart pleaded guilty to the charge while fellow defendants Jonathan Clarke and Maria Chandler pleaded not guilty.

Stewart has told Norwich Crown Court that he went along with the plan to abduct the 17-year-old engineering student. He had intended to cover him in petrol to scare him but had no idea it would escalate to murder.

Closing speeches began with prosecutor Karim Khalil describing the “cold and calculated” manner in which the three are alleged to have killed Mr Everitt.

He added: “It's now time to bring down the curtain on what's been an ugly theatre of lies and violence. This case has shown that the reality of life is even more shocking than fiction.”

Mr Everitt's body was found in a swamp near Mautby woods in June last year. He had been abducted, beaten, tied to a tree, doused in petrol and set on fire.

The court has heard claims that the three planned to killing after an argument over Fiona Statham - a girl who had dated Mr Everitt, Stewart and Clarke.

Prosecutors claim the killing was based on a scene from horror film, Severance, in which a character is tied to a tree and set alight.

Referring to Chandler and Stewart's cases that they had not know Mr Everitt was going to be murdered, Mr Khalil said: “Why, according to Jimi-Lee Stewart, was Mr Everitt praying to God and Jesus for his life?

“Because he knew that is where he was heading. If he knew, then so did they.”

Defence counsel began closing speeches yesterday afternoon. The judge's summing up is expected to begin tomorrow (Thursday) with the jury retiring to consider their verdict later or the following day.

Stewart, 25, of Nelson Road Central, Yarmouth, Chandler, 40, of Lancaster Road, Yarmouth, and Clarke, 19, from Telford, all deny murder.

The case continues.

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