Brothers deny murder at cash machine

TWO brothers accused of murdering a man who was stabbed to death at a cash point machine are blaming each other for delivering the fatal blow, a court heard.

By Roddy Ashworth

TWO brothers accused of murdering a man who was stabbed to death at a cash point machine are blaming each other for delivering the fatal blow, a court heard.

But a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court was told yesterday that it did not matter which of them actually plunged the knife into Westley Odger's neck - as they had worked as a team they were both equally culpable, it was claimed.

Andrew and Mark Fredericks, aged 31 and 36, both deny murdering Mr Odger, of Jack Andrews Avenue, Colchester, on September 12 last year at a parade of shops in Colchester's Greenstead estate.

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Opening the prosecution's case yesterday, Patricia Lynch told the court that trouble began when Mark Fredericks and Mr Odger argued about pushing while they were waiting to use a cash point in Hunwicke Road.

She alleged that after the initial dispute, Mark Fredericks, of nearby Whybrews, headed off and phoned his brother at his girlfriend's house.

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He then allegedly received a telephone call and went on to wait on a slope near the shops where he appeared agitated, pacing up and down, Ms Lynch said.

Mr Odger, meanwhile, experienced some difficulty with his transaction at the cash point and apologised to Mark Streeter, who was behind him in the queue, because of the length of time it was taking.

“A witness was walking towards Hawthorne Avenue when he saw what he described as a dark-coloured Sierra motor car approaching at speed,” Ms Lynch said.

She alleged that Andrew Fredericks, of Avon Way, then got out of the car, leaving the door slightly open and the engine running, and both brothers confronted Mr Odger.

“Mr Streeter was using the machine. He describes hearing angry voices, a heated exchange with Mr Odger. Mr Odger said very little and seemed frightened.”

Ms Lynch said that although no witnesses saw a weapon, two people described Andrew Fredericks as “punching” Mr Odger with a single blow to the neck.

However, Mr Streeter said he then heard Mr Odger shout 'He's stabbed me' and the two brothers ran off.

Despite the best efforts of bystanders, paramedics and police officers, Mr Odger died at the scene because an artery in his neck had been severed.

“The Crown's case is both defendants are responsible for the murder,” said Ms Lynch.

“The Crown says that after an argument, Mark Fredericks phoned Andrew Fredericks. He arrived at the scene, joined the altercation and then the stab to the neck took place.

“The Crown's case is that it was probably Andrew who stabbed Mr Odger but it was with the full support of Mark. They were acting together. They were working as a team.”

She added: “It seems that as far as this case is concerned both defendants agree they were there. They agree Mr Odger was stabbed in the neck and died as a result of the injuries.

“But each is blaming the other. Mark says it is Andrew who stabbed him, while Andrew says it was Mark.

“The Crown says it does not matter. They were acting as a team and both were equally responsible.”

The trial continues.

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