MURDER TRIAL: Jury sent home for the night

Daniel Baker. Submitted picture.
Daniel Baker. Submitted picture.

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering Daniel Baker has been sent home for the night.

Mr Baker died after being stabbed through the heart in South Normanton last summer.

Leon Lockhart, 32, of Carter Lane East, South Normanton, denies murdering the dad-of-one.

The court has heard how dad-of-two Lockhart – who admitted to having a 20-year drug problem – and his then-girlfriend Michaela Griffiths bumped into Mr Baker “by chance” on a bus on Thursday, July 18.

The three spent the day together taking drugs and Mr Baker slept on the pair’s settee.

The following day, they took about ten grams of MCAT between them.

Lockhart said Mr Baker pointed a knife at him when he asked the 32-year-old to leave him and Griffiths alone that night.

He told jurors he stabbed Mr Baker in self-defence but never wanted to hurt him.

However, the prosecution said it was Lockhart who pulled the blade on Mr Baker before “plunging” it into his chest, causing a 15cm-deep wound.

Summing up the defence case earlier, Shaun Smith CQ told the jury: “Leon Lockhart can only be found guilty of murdering Mr Baker if he intended to kill him or seriously injure him.

“But there’s no evidence to prove Leon Lockhart wasn’t acting in self-defence and there’s no evidence that he intended to hurt Mr Baker or take his life.

“The whole of the prosecution’s case is based on speculation.

“Leon Lockhart lives in a world which is completely alien to you – he’s a taker, not a giver; he’s a drug addict.

“But he’s not on trial for being who he is - put your prejudices aside.

“Please don’t convict him of murder unless you are absolutely sure.”

Summing up the prosecution’s case, Peter Joyce QC said: “This all happened because of Lockhart’s paranoid head, it’s there in front of you.

“In cross-examination he agreed that he killed Mr Baker.

“He agreed that he did it deliberately but he pretends that Mr Baker had the knife.

“The only time he finally comes forward with any statement is when he sees the weight of evidence against him and in his own paranoid head he says ‘aah, we’ll say it was self-defence’.

“Motive is not important.

“Was it about MCAT? It does not matter.

“Was it because he was possessive over Griffiths? It does not matter.

“Griffiths was there when he plunged that knife, that hideous weapon, into Mr Baker’s chest.”

Mr Baker, of Derby, was found by a couple slumped on the pavement of Carter Lane East shortly before 11.30pm on Friday, July 19.

The trial continues.

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