Murder accused lied for fear of attack

A FOURTEEN-year-old boy on trial for murder lied to police because he feared his older co-accused would “kill him and burn his house down”, a court in Essex has heard.

Elliot Furniss

A FOURTEEN-year-old boy on trial for murder lied to police because he feared his older co-accused would “kill him and burn his house down”, a court in Essex has heard.

Along with another teenager, the youngster is jointly charged with the murder of Colchester mother-of-two Helen Maughan and he gave evidence for the first time yesterday at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He told the court he had kissed Miss Maughan as the three of them sat on a bench shortly before her death and how he feared that if he revealed this to police they would think it was he who had gone on to rape and murder her.

Miss Maughan's partially-clothed body was found floating in the River Colne near Quilters bar in North Station Road on May 20 last year.

She was discovered two days after going missing during a night out drinking in the town.

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The boys, then aged 13 and 16, were arrested a few weeks later after being spotted on CCTV footage released to the media.

Both deny murder and have blamed each other.

The younger of the pair yesterday admitted to the jury of six men and six women that he did not initially give police officers a full account of his role in the moments leading up to Miss Maughan's death.

Dressed in a black suit, the boy told the court that after failing to mention kissing Miss Maughan during five rounds of police interviews, he later admitted to it but insisted he played no further part in the incident and that he even tried to stop his pal from killing her.

He said: “I didn't think they (the police) would believe me. I had nothing to back it up.

“I thought 'why would they believe me?' and I thought if they didn't, he (the co-accused) would come after me and I'm in trouble.

“I was thinking if I said that (I had kissed her) the police would try and say I had raped her.”

When asked why he hadn't contacted the police or told them about his involvement during earlier inquiries, the younger defendant said he had been warned not to “grass” the older boy up or he would “kill him and burn his house down”.

When asked if he had played any part in the “sexual assault” on Miss Maughan, helped put her body in the river, or ever meant her any harm, he replied “no” each time.

The trial continues.

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