Smell of gas ‘immediately obvious’ at coin collector’s flat, neighbour tells murder trial jury

Colchester coin collector Gordon McGhee, who was stabbed to death. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Colchester coin collector Gordon McGhee, who was stabbed to death. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Essex Police

A neighbour of a Colchester coin collector allegedly murdered by a fellow enthusiast has described her shock at finding his body on his bedroom floor.

Melissa McGrory told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that she walked into 52-year-old Gordon McGhee’s flat after not getting a reply when she knocked on his door – and immediately noticed the smell of gas.

She went into the kitchen and found all the knobs on Mr McGhee’s cooker were “turned up full blast” but none of them were lit.

She opened some windows and as she walked out of the kitchen she saw Mr McGhee’s body lying on the bedroom floor next to his bed.

She said she was in shock and couldn’t believe what she was seeing and had run to another neighbour’s flat.

An ambulance was called and when Miss McGrory went back into Mr McGhee’s flat she touched him and established that he wasn’t breathing. She noticed blood and had also seen a burnt cloth in the hallway. Before the court is Danny Bostock, 32, of Berberis Walk, Colchester, who has denied murdering Mr McGhee and attempted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered in the early hours of August 22 last year.

It has been alleged that Bostock, who was also a coin collector, murdered Mr McGhee after McGhee disturbed him during a burglary at his ground floor flat in Forest Road, Colchester.

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It is also alleged that after stabbing Mr McGhee 14 times Bostock tried to cause a gas explosion at his flat by turning on the gas oven and setting light to a cloth to destroy evidence.

“He wanted to destroy his body and all traces of what he’d done,” said Andrew Jackson, prosecuting.

The court heard McGhee was a collector of rare and valuable coins, including special edition 50p pieces which bore images of Beatrix Potter characters.

Mr Jackson claimed that Bostock knew Mr McGhee, who kept his coin collection in a locked box in his flat, and shared his interest.

Miss McGrory told the court that Mr McGhee was very proud of his coin collection and had planned to leave it to his step-daughter when he died.

She said Mr McGhee had shown Bostock his coin collection and the two men had seemed to get on alright with each other.

The trial continues.

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