26th Feb, 2020

Body rolled in carpet murder trial latest: Four accused of cover-up

Editorial Correspondent 13th Jan, 2020 Updated: 13th Jan, 2020

A JURY has been told how four people allegedly tried to pervert the course of justice by covering up their involvement with two men accused of the killing of Bedworth man Daniel Pitham.

John Allison (34) of Bulkington Road, Bedworth, and Scott Warner (36) of Missing Oak Close, Bedworth, have pleaded not guilty to the murder of 33-year-old Mr Pitham in May last year.

They were arrested after Mr Pitham’s body was found in a cupboard under the stairs of Allison’s home at 44 Bulkington Road, wrapped in a piece of carpet cut from the living room floor.

But with the two men in the dock at Warwick Crown Court are three other men, Bradley Gane, James Gould and Lee Williams, and Allison’s wife Toni Allison.

Gane (39) of Braytoft Close, Coventry, has pleaded not guilty to assisting an offender by booking a hotel room for the two men with intent to impede their apprehension, and perverting the course of justice by deleting data from his phone.

And Gould (35) of Hayes Lane, Exhall; Toni Allison (34) of Abbey Street, Nuneaton; and Williams (28) of Beechwood Road, Bedworth, have pleaded not guilty to two charges each of perverting the course of justice.

Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty QC has alleged that Mr Pitham was stabbed to death at John Allison’s home, and that both Allison and Warner were involved in the killing.

Mr Pitham’s body was then tied inside a roll of carpet cut from the living room in the house and put in a cupboard under the stairs while they allegedly arranged to dispose of it.

“What about the other defendants? Bradley Gane booked a room at the Coombe Abbey Hotel so John Allison and Scott Warner would not be going back to number 44 on the night of the 6th.

“We say he did that intending to impede the apprehension or prosecution of the two,” said Mr Hegarty.

He told the jury that during the evening on the day Mr Pitham died, Warner was in contact with Gane who turned up in a car at the junction of Bulkington Road and Earl Street.

Warner went to speak to him and, at some point when he and Warner then went to a rave in Birmingham on the 5th, he was told what had happened.

Gane later told the police they then returned to his girlfriend’s home, where Allison also turned up, and the only way he could get them to leave was to agree to take them to a hotel, so he had booked the room and taken them there.

But they would not get out of his van, and instead told him to take them to another man’s home, which he did, and he said they spoke about Allison having stabbed Mr Pitham.

“We say he was assisting them to stay beyond the reach of the police,” said Mr Hegarty, who said that searches on Gane’s phone about a body having been found in Bedworth had been deleted.

Mr Hegarty said Gould had turned up at number 44 on May 4, and left when he got no answer, but returned after a call from Allison, by when it was ‘most likely Daniel Pitham was dead.’

“When he was there we say he was involved in discussions and acts no doubt to remove pieces of evidence from the address. When he went into the house he would have seen Daniel Pitham dead or dying, yet he did nothing to summon any help.”

The next day he drove Allison and another man from a pub back to 44, where by then the carpet used to roll Mr Pitham in had been cut, and lent Allison his phone to try to contact his wife.

When Gould was arrested he said he had a cocaine habit, getting it from Allison who was a dealer, and owed him £6-700.

He claimed his visits were to repay some of that debt, and he denied removing evidence or assisting Allison in any way.

His phone was seized and it was found ‘a significant amount of date was missing,’ which Mr Hegarty suggested had been deleted to distance Gould from Allison.

Turning to Toni Allison, he said: “She told John Allison to get rid of his phone on the 6th of May, the day the police discovered Daniel Pitham’s body, and on a date on or before the 8th disposed of the sim card from her own phone.”

When she was spoken to by the police on May 7, ‘she was evasive when asked where her phone was,’ and said she had thrown the sim card out of a car window.

“She said it was because John Allison said he had done something ‘really bad,’ but she maintained she didn’t know where her own phone was. It was found in a drawer under some towels, but there was no sim card in it.”

But analysis of the phone disclosed messages including one in which Allison told her: “I’ve done something really bad, baby. I’ve got to sort it before I end up in jail for years.’

He did not say what he had done, but that he would tell her when they met, and on May 6 she sent him a message telling him: “You need to get rid of your phone.”

Mr Hegarty said: “By then he’s told her more particularly what has happened, and she’s giving him advice.”

The day after Mr Pitham had died, there was phone contact between Warner and Lee Williams who, after a series of messages, turned up at 44 in a Vauxhall Astra he had borrowed.

“Scott Warner comes out and is seen putting things into the rear of the vehicle. These acts in removing items from the address were to assist John Allison and Warner cover up their involvement in the murder,” suggested Mr Hegarty.

Williams told the police he had been offered £500 to get hold of a vehicle, and believed it would be to do with drugs.

“He went into the house on the Sunday and, on his own admission, saw a roll of carpet tied with blue cord. He would therefore have seen Daniel Pitham on the floor or rolled up in the carpet,” said Mr Hegarty.

Williams said that in the house Allison was aggressive when he asked why they needed a vehicle, and he was then told by Allison that the car was ‘too small.’

The items that had been put in it were taken out and he was told to go, but was asked if he knew anyone with a van.

Mr Hegarty said Williams, who had deleted calls from his phone, was asked what he had seen in the house, and he drew a plan of what he saw.

“He drew the cut out carpet, he drew the rolled-up carpet, and he drew a stick figure in the carpet. That was not a coincidence. We say it showed he saw the body of Daniel Pitham in the rolled-up carpet.”

The trial continues.

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