UPDATE: Fernhurst murder trial defendant ‘obsessed’ with fighting

Michael Griffiths  BBC Picture
Michael Griffiths BBC Picture

A DEFENDANT in the murder trial of Fernhurst man Michael Griffiths had an ‘obsession’ with combat techniques and martial arts.

But it did not, says his defence, influence the killing of Michael Griffiths, whose badly beaten body was found ‘hog-tied’ behind the front door of his home at 35 Old Glebe, Fernhurst, on January 24 last year.

Seven defendants stand trial in relation to his murder.

Jurors at Hove Trial Centre heard how Harvey Munford, 23, googled the term ‘best way to kill someone’ in the hours leading up to Michael Griffiths’ death.

Munford has admitted conspiracy to burgle a number of homes, including 35 Old Glebe, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and manslaughter, but denies murder.

Defending, David Howker said Munford had an ‘obsession’ with combat training and martial arts and watched fighting videos and visited pornographic websites before entering Mr Griffiths’ home.

He told jurors: “You have been fobbed off with a half baked theory from the prosecution, with gaps in the evidence which is full of irrelevant points.”

Mr Griffiths was found with multiple injuries across his head and body, and had broken several ribs. A shoe print was found on his face - which had been stamped on twice - and he had been strangled using his own neckerchief.

Prosecutors allege burglars were trying to find two diamonds which had a net worth of around £40,000.

Mr Howker added: “No classic torture injuries were found on the body - no boiling water had been used, he wasn’t burned with a hot iron, there were no cigarette burns on his body.”

He argued Mr Griffiths’ cluttered and disorderly house may have contributed to his injuries.

He told the jury: “Munford is a low life, waste of space, professional burglar, who not only caused the death of Michael Griffiths, but showed not an iota of respect when he set his house on fire. Your job, distasteful as you think it is, is to protect him from a wrongful conviction.”

The trial continues.