Couple who deny murder of Barry Smith were heard arguing on the night, court hears

Court news
Court news

A COUPLE who allegedly helped murder a Kilburn gypsy were arguing about the killing only hours later in a neighbour’s home, a court heard.

In the early hours of October 6, Lorraine Hardy was woken up by her partner to find Emma Aitken and boyfriend Nathan Doherty arguing about something in her front room.

The couple, who lived in a flat directly above Miss Hardy at Portland Street, Derby, had black marks on their clothing, the court heard.

Giving evidence, Miss Hardy told the court: “They were just blaming each other for what they had done to the guy.

“Then they were arguing about what they had done.”

Leicester Crown Court has previously been told by the prosecution that Barry Smith, 48, was beaten to death with pool cues and a fence post before being dragged to a pile of rubbish and his body set alight in what has been described as a “savage and merciless attack”.

Dog walkers discovered his charred remains outside the Kilburn Welfare Social Club at 8am on October 6 last year.

Vincent Aitken, 44, of Chapel Street, Kilburn, his daughter, Emma Aitken, 19, and her partner, Nathan Doherty, 27, both of Portland Street, Derby, all deny the murder of Mr Smith.

Aitken’s wife, Pamela Aitken, 41, also of Chapel Street, denies assisting an offender in relation to Mr Smith’s death.

Miss Hardy continued: “Nathan was saying to Emma that ‘you were the one who was hitting him with a pole, me and your dad were just hitting him like normal’.

“I think his name was Barry.”

She added: “Emma said ‘it wasn’t just my fault, all three of us joined in’.

“Nathan said ‘you must have hurt him more by hitting him with the pole’.

“Emma kept repeating ‘you didn’t see the look on his face like I did’.”

During the conversation, Miss Hardy said she could see the orange light of a fire which was burning underneath trees in the flat’s communal garden.

Miss Hardy said: “He (Nathan) said ‘don’t worry, nothing will happen, we’ll sort it’.

“Emma was saying to Nathan that ‘it’s your fault’. Nathan said ‘we’re all in it together’.

“She (Emma) was worried that whatever had happened, her dad had been involved and she was worried that he was going to get into trouble,” Miss Hardy continued.

The trial continues.