Burglar stabbed coin collector then started fire, court told

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 burglar stabbed a fellow coin collector to death then tried to cause a gas explosion at his Colchester flat to destroy evidence, a court was told.

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Danny Bostock stabbed 52-year-old Gordon McGhee a total of 14 times at his ground floor flat in Forest Road in the early hours of August 22, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The injuries to Mr McGhee’s face, neck, limbs and upper body included two deep wounds to his chest and lungs which caused massive bleeding.

“They were catastrophic and killed him,” said Andrew Jackson, prosecuting.

Before leaving the flat Bostock allegedly turned on the gas supply to his oven and lit a towel in the hallway.

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“He did that in an attempt to cause a gas explosion which would have destroyed the evidence of what he’d just done to Mr McGhee,” said Mr Jackson.

“He wanted to destroy his body and all traces of what he’d done,” he added.

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The court heard that Mr McGhee, who was described as “kind and helpful and appeared to have no enemies whatsoever”, 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 in collecting coins.

“You may think this brutal stabbing in the early hours of the morning was this defendant’s chance to get his hands on Mr McGhee’s coin collection,” he said.

“After the murder Mr McGhee’s coin collection, the vast bulk of it, couldn’t be found. We say it was this defendant who took it.”

Bostock, 32, of Berberis Walk, Colchester, has denied murdering Mr McGhee and attempted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

The court heard that after his arrest Bostock denied any involvement in Mr McGhee’s murder.

However the court heard that following the discovery of Mr McGhee’s body, forensic scientists allegedly found links between Bostock and the murder scene.

These included Mr McGhee’s blood being found on the pedal of a bike belonging to Bostock, and Bostock’s DNA being found with Mr McGhee’s blood in a mixed profile on a burnt and bloodstained cloth in the hallway.

The court heard that on the evening before the alleged murder Bostock was captured on CCTV at a local store wearing a pair of brown Lonsdale trainers with a distinctive white edge on the sole.

When police searched Bostock’s girlfriend’s home they found an empty box and a receipt for the trainers.

When Bostock was asked about the trainers he claimed he’d thrown them away several months earlier.

However, police officers purchased an identical pair of trainers and gave them to a forensic scientist who found they matched footwear marks found in blood at Mr McGhee’s flat.

A pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Mr McGhee, who had limited mobility, found he had injuries to his hands and arms that showed he had tried to defend himself during the attack.

The court heard that Mr McGhee spent the evening before his death drinking in a courtyard at his block of flats with two neighbours, another man and Bostock.

Mr McGhee went to bed at 11.30pm but got up shortly after midnight and asked one of the neighbours for some cannabis.

He returned to his flat, which he often left unlocked, and then after he left one of his neighbour’s self-harmed and called a taxi to take her to hospital.

The woman got into the taxi at 3.05am leaving Bostock on his own outside the flats in Forest Road.

“It is the prosecution’s case that the murder of Mr McGhee was done by this defendant not very long after he was left alone outside the flats,” said Mr Jackson.

“The prosecution say he had formed an intention to go back to Mr McGhee’s flat and burgle it for his coin collection,” he added.

The trial continues.

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