Two men accused of murdering a Burnley man are to face a re-trial after the jury trying them was discharged.
In a highly unusual move following closing speeches by both prosecution and defence barristers last week there were legal arguments in the absence of the jury.
As a result, today (Monday) the high court judge, Sir Geoffrey Grigson, ruled that the jury should be discharged and a retrial held.
This is to take place beginning on February 22nd at a venue to be decided, but expected to be Preston.
Paul Howarth (48) of Clifton Road, Burnley, and Gary Burley (45) of Herbert Road, Burnley, who both deny the murder of 60-year-old Keith Passmore, were further remanded in custody.
Burley also denies threatening to kill Howarth’s ex-partner Kathleen Green after she saw the victim’s body, and possessing an offensive weapon, a multi-tool with a hammer attachment.
During their three week trial at Liverpool Crown Court the jury heard that Mr Passmore was allegedly stabbed to death with a knife and large pair of scissors on January 10th this year because he had swopped a tablet device for cans of beer.
Gordon Cole, QC, (prosecuting) said that Mr Passmore, Howarth and the other defendant, Gary Burley, all have a long history of alcohol abuse.
Mr Passmore’s body was found by police in Howarth’s heavily blood stained flat. He had been beaten with such force bones in his face were fractured and he had been repeatedly stabbed.
After being stabbed he had been moved to the bathroom and put in the bath where attempts were apparently made to clean up before his body was moved to the lounge.
Howarth has told the court that he could not remember what happened and Burley said that while he punched and kicked him Howarth was responsible for the fatal stabbing.