A vulnerable man is alleged to have been brutally murdered by his neighbour, who called the emergency services and claimed the crime had been carried out by an ‘unknown male’.
The Crown allege Michael Goddard murdered his downstairs neighbour Glenn Boardman, who relied on daily assistance from a carer due to health complaints including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, between 9pm and midnight on June 25 this year.
Opening the trial at Sheffield Crown Court today, prosecutor, Peter Moulson QC described how police found a ‘circular’ trail of blood just under three-miles long, leading from Mr Goddard’s flat in Steven Close, Chapeltown that went through ‘woodlands and parklands’ before returning to Mr Goddard’s flat.
“The blood [on the trail] was sampled and was found to be the defendant’s blood,” said Mr Moulson, adding that a blood-stained jacket belonging to Goddard discarded on the trail was also analysed and was found to contain a ‘mixture’ of Goddard’s and Mr Boardman’s blood.
Mr Moulson told the jury of four women and eight men that Goddard, 51, was the one to raise the alarm, and when he called the emergency services at 12.26am, he claimed to have found an unknown male in Mr Boardman’s flat who slashed his hand when he went ‘after him’ and subsequently escaped through the window.
He said he knew would be able to gain access to Mr Boardman’s flat because it was usually left insecure, and described the unknown intruder as wearing a black jacket with a pattern on it, but said he could not see his face due to it being dark.
In a prepared statement given to the police following his arrest for Mr Boardman’s murder, Goddard claimed to have been in bed when he heard Mr Boardman sounding distressed and shouting: ‘Mick, Mick,’ causing him to rush down to Mr Boardman’s flat.
He claimed the fatal attack must have taken place just minutes before his call, and did not mention the walk he went on earlier in the evening during which he left the trail of blood, which prosecutors estimate must have taken approximately 40 minutes.
Following his arrest, Goddard was taken to hospital for treatment for the injury to his hand.
Mr Moulson said: “He was found to have sustained a slash wound across four fingers on his left hand.
“Expert medical analysis of those wounds indicate that that wound could either have been caused as a result of an assault or could have been self-inflicted.”
The court heard how when the ambulance service arrived at Mr Boardman’s flat in Steven Close, Chapeltown in the early hours of June 26 this year, they found him on his knees, surrounded by blood, with his top pulled over his torso and his trousers and underwear pulled down.
Despite being found with his trousers and underwear pulled down, Mr Moulson said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Boardman was sexually assaulted during the fatal attack.
The 59-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, and a post-mortem examination subsequently revealed he died as a result of ‘severe sharp force neck injuries with stab wounds to his back,’ said Mr Moulson.
Mr Moulson described how the force used to inflict the stab wounds to his back was so ‘severe’ that a ‘chunk of bone’ was taken from his spine.
Similarly, the damaged caused by the injury to his neck was so extreme, paramedics knew they would not be able to save his life when they arrived at the crime scene.
The court heard how a witness, who lives near to Steven Close, said Goddard was known to do shopping for Mr Boardman.
Mr Moulson said the same witness claims to have heard two men arguing on the night of the murder, but said he could not tell whether the voices he heard were that of Goddard and Mr Boardman.
As he concluded the prosecution opening, Mr Moulson told the jury: “We invite you to conclude that it was in fact the defendant, and not some random intruder, that murdered Mr Boardman on the night in question.”
Goddard, of Steven Close, Chapeltown denies one count of murder.
The trial continues.