Man stabbed 'for trying it on with girl'

A TRAVELLER murdered a Suffolk man because he had “tried it on” with his girlfriend, a court heard.

Helen Skene

A TRAVELLER murdered a Suffolk man because he had “tried it on” with his girlfriend, a court heard.

Tony Holland, 23, changed his story when he gave evidence in his defence at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, admitting he had spoken to Bill O'Connor the day before the 20-year-old from Bury St Edmunds was stabbed to death.

Holland has denied murdering Mr O'Connor near Bury's Hardwick Shopping Centre on April 27 last year.

He has also denied murdering Northants traveller, Danny Hathaway, 44, whose body has not been seen since February last year.

Holland initially told the jury he had leant his mobile telephone SIM card to a man called Joe on April 26 and it was Joe who had spoken to Mr O'Connor, arranging to meet him behind the shopping precinct for a drug deal the following day.

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However, under cross-examination by prosecution lawyer Karim Khalil, Holland admitted it was him who had spoken to Mr O'Connor the day before he was stabbed to death.

Mr Khalil put it to Holland that he wanted to contact Mr O'Connor because he had taken a fancy to Holland's fiancée Lisa smith.

He said: “I suggest you were finding him because you were getting married next year to Lisa and you knew he had met Lisa.

“She said something had happened and he had tried it on with her and you became jealous and you decided to sort that problem out before you got married to prove your love to her.”

Holland denied that was true.

Mr Khalil said when Holland's first transit van was seized by police following the disappearance of Mr Hathaway, Mr O'Connor's name and telephone number were discovered on a piece of paper in the van's ashtray. Mr Khalil said a mobile telephone was used to trace all the O'Connors in the Bury St Edmunds area.

Holland said that the phone used belonged to his sister but he did not know who had made those calls or why.

Mr Khalil said that on April 13 Holland went to Mr O'Connor's mother's and demanded her son's phone number in return for money.

Holland said it was Joe who wanted the number but he did not like dealing with Irish travellers and so had asked him to speak to her.

Mr Khalil said that telephone schedules revealed that Holland had obtained Mr O'Connor's number from another source and had called him at 2.24pm for 52 seconds on April 26.

Holland said he had dialled the number in error but it was not Mr O'Connor who answered.

He said: “I remember talking to an individual but I didn't think he sounded Irish. I said 'can I speak to Billy?' and the voice said: 'who, who, who? It must be the wrong number'”.

The court heard that at 3.50pm Holland phoned the number again and spoke to Mr O'Connor for more than four minutes.

Holland said he could not remember the call.

Mr Khalil said Holland had made up Joe to cover his tracks and had in fact spoken to Mr O'Connor himself about the meeting the next day - at which Mr O'Connor was stabbed eight times in the head, heart, eye and neck.

The trial continues.

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