28th May, 2020

Body rolled up in carpet to be dumped in old gravel pit, jury hears

Editorial Correspondent 10th Jan, 2020 Updated: 13th Jan, 2020

A MAN’S body was rolled up in a length of carpet cut from the living room of his alleged killer’s home, ready to be taken away and dumped in an old gravel pit, a jury has been told.

But before it could be disposed of, Daniel Pitham’s body was discovered by the police in a cupboard under the stairs in the house where he had been killed, it has been said.

John Allison (34) at whose Bulkington Road, Bedworth, home Mr Pitham’s body was found, and Scott Warner (36) of Missing Oak Close, Bedworth, have both pleaded not guilty to his murder.

Both men have pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a further charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice following 33-year-old Mr Pitham’s death in May last year.

Also in the dock are Allison’s wife Toni Allison (34) of Abbey Street, Nuneaton; James Gould (35) of Hayes Lane, Exhall; and Lee Williams (28) of Beechwood Road, Bedworth, who each deny two charges of perverting the course of justice; and Bradley Gane (39) of Braytoft Close, Coventry, who denies perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender.

Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty QC explained: “In the afternoon of the 6th of May the police went to 44 Bulkington Road in Bedworth because they had had a report of a missing person.

“It was believed the missing person, Daniel Pitham, was at that address. No-one answered, so they forced entry.

“There was no-one at home, but they set about searching the house and opened the door to the under-stairs cupboard – and there they saw the missing man, Daniel Pitham.

“He was dead. He was lying face-down in the cupboard, wrapped in a piece of carpet which had been tied up with a length of washing line.

“When they unwrapped it, they saw he had at least one wound to his body, in particular to his chest.”

One wound had penetrated his chest by 8.5cm and fatally damaged his heart, causing significant bleeding, and other wounds included one to his abdomen which had penetrated his liver.

Mr Hegarty said Mr Pitham lived with his parents in Bedworth and had led an active life, but was seriously injured in a car accident in February 2018 and lost most of his left arm, after which ‘he never really regained his old self.’

His parents last saw him on the evening of May 3, and the next morning they were out when he asked a neighbour for a lift – and was dropped off near the Travellers rest pub a short distance from Allison’s home, and it was to there he made his way.

Allison, who lived alone, was there with Warner when Mr Pitham arrived, and at shortly after 11.30 that morning Warner and Mr Pitham went to a shop to buy whisky and Coca-cola.

“When they got back to number 44 Daniel Pitham knocked on the door, and they were let in.

“Mr Pitham was never seen outside that address again. It seems that over the course of the next hour or so, he died.”

At around 2pm Allison phoned James Gould, while Warner called Bradley Gane. Gould pulled up outside a few minutes later and went in and out of the house a few times before driving away.

“The front of the house could be seen on the CCTV from the Travellers Rest. No ambulance ever arrived, and no ambulance was ever called to the address during the course of that day.

“If Daniel Pitham was uninjured, that would be in order. But we suggest that by this time he was already dead and probably lying in the rear living room on the floor.

“It’s more likely than not he died in that room and either collapsed on the floor or was laid out on the floor before he was wrapped in carpet and tied up and put in the cupboard.”

“Why wrap him and tie him up? He could have been put in the cupboard without any carpet being tied round him.

“But putting him in the cupboard was a temporary measure. The purpose of wrapping him in carpet, we say, is they intended to remove his body from the house disguised as a roll of carpet.

“There can be no other purpose for rolling him up in carpet and tying it round him. He couldn’t escape, he was dead.

“It is the prosecution case that the way Scott Warner and John Allison acted indicates that this man did not suffer an accidental death, and whoever was engaged in stabbing him was not acting in self-defence.

“The nature of the fatal injury would result in a rapid but not instantaneous death. He may have collapsed straight away, or there may have been some degree of activity, but that could only have been for two or three minutes.

“It is the prosecution case that John Allison and Scott Warner were both engaged in the fatal assault. One or both of them inflicted wounds on him, and if it was only one of them, the other encouraged the stabber.

“We say both men had an intent to murder. If Daniel Pitham had died because they were acting in self-defence, then why not call for an ambulance, why not call for the police?

“And if he was still alive, there was the prospect of him being saved – but he was left to die.”

They then had the problem of getting rid of the body, and set about clearing up and preparing to dispose of the evidence.

“They sent messages and requests to various people with a common theme. They wanted a vehicle, a car or a van. Their plan was to put him into that vehicle and then dispose of him.

“You may conclude that what they had in mind was simply to dump him wrapped in the carpet.”

Mr Hegarty said the piece of carpet in which the body was wrapped had been cut from the carpet in the living room by Allison who was a carpet-fitter.

One person who was contacted was told by Warner that he had some rubbish which needed to be collected from Allison’s home.

When he was told the tip would be closed, Warner said to ‘just tip it at the Slatey’ – referring to a disused gravel pit, and Mr Hegarty commented: “Plainly they had an idea where Mr Pitham’s body was going to be dumped.”

The next day the two men were at a pub where they met a man called Jack Parker who was invited back to the house to take cocaine before they then returned to the pub.

Warner and Mr Parker then left the pub, and Allison was driven home by a friend, Dean Williams – to whom he confessed during the journey that he had ‘killed Daniel,’ but then claimed the comment had just been a joke.

And Warner later told someone else: “Daniel is dead. I watched him die.” He claimed it had ‘kicked off’ after Daniel had spat on the floor at Allison’s home, and that he had tried to revive him, but that Allison would not let him.

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