Relief at murder trial decision

A MAN has spoken of his relief after he was found not guilty of murdering his childhood friend in an argument.John Cotterell , 54, of Holme Close in West Wickham, Cambridgeshire, said last night that he would not be celebrating the verdict as the evening was tinged with the sad knowledge that he had "killed a very good friend".

A MAN has spoken of his relief after he was found not guilty of murdering his childhood friend in an argument.

John Cotterell , 54, of Holme Close in West Wickham, Cambridgeshire, said last night that he would not be celebrating the verdict as the evening was tinged with the sad knowledge that he had "killed a very good friend".

Mr Cotterell was found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter at Norwich Crown Court yesterday afternoon.

He denied murdering his friend Henry Greenall , 55, on May 11 this year, who died after being stabbed in the neck at Mr Cotterell's home.


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Last night Mr Cotterell said: "I am very pleased I am not in Norwich jail anymore and it is nice to be home. I am now down at the local pub with my friends and the lovely people in this village, who have been so supportive of me and have been to see me in prison and court.

"I actually killed a very good friend. They said in the end that it was self-defence and let me go. I had known Henry for 41 years since I was 12 or 13-years-old, so it was a very long time."

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He added: "I wish it hadn't happened."

The court heard that Mr Greenall and his girlfriend Nicola Fenton lived with Mr Cotterell and that Mr Greenall continued to rent a room at the house after the couple moved elsewhere.

On the night of the alleged murder, Miss Fenton called at Mr Cotterell's home to see Mr Greenall, who was not there.

Mr Greenall later arrived at the house after he had been to a Chinese restaurant in Haverhill. A fight broke out between the two men but Mr Cotterell assured his friend that "nothing was going on".

Mr Cotterell told the court that he stabbed Mr Greenall but added: "I did not want to hurt or kill him."

The jury of six men and six women were out for about five-and-a-half hours before returning a verdict of not guilty to murder.

After retiring again for half an hour they also found him not guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Cotterell, who was on remand in Norwich Prison for five months while he awaited the trial, said being in jail and court had been strenuous.

But he added that he thought the system had not been "too unkind".

"Going through the whole thing again in the trial was very hard work. I was not getting much sleep at night as I was thinking about what was going on.

"Five months is not a long time on the sort of charges I was on and the trial itself was very quick, only lasting a week.

"This was because they were not looking for a culprit and there was never any doubt. I am never going through that again."

Mr Cotterell, who was a computer programmer, said he now plans to look for work after the company where he was employed went into receivership while he was in prison.

He also said that some time in the future he might write to Mr Greenall's mother and father, who his family has known for many years.

He added: "I said to my Mum that it would be difficult to know what to say. Sorry is such a small word and not a big enough word.

"I will not be celebrating. His Mum has still lost her son and I have lost my friend."

On hearing the verdict Mr Greenall's sister, Margaret Lund, said: "I cannot believe it. This man stuck a knife in my brother and he walks free.

"He told the jury himself that he killed his friend. He knew what he was doing."

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