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Fernhurst murder defendant searched for ‘best way to hurt someone’

The fatal fire in Michael Griffiths' home PICTURE BY EDDIE MITCHELL

The fatal fire in Michael Griffiths' home PICTURE BY EDDIE MITCHELL

A DEFENDANT in the murder trial of Fernhurst man Michael Griffiths searched on Google for the ‘best way to hurt someone’.

Hove Crown Court heard today (February 20) that the term was entered into the search engine Google on January 23 last year, on a computer later seized from the home of Harvey Munford.

Another defendant kept ‘at least’ two phones according to a witness, to ‘stay one step ahead of the law’.

Jurors at Hove Crown Court heard from a former girlfriend of Zack Cowdrey, 23.

Cowdrey is on trial for the murder of Michael Griffiths, alongside Damian Krafft, Simon Penton, Kerry Rudder, Harvey Munford and John Bartholomew.

All have pleaded not guilty.

Mr Griffiths, 59, was an antiques dealer and jewellery maker, found dead at his home in Old Glebe, Fernhurst, on January 24, 2013.

He had been assaulted before his death and his home set on fire.

Cowdrey’s former girlfriend, Daisy Dye, was questioned by the prosecution, Miss Christine Laing.

Miss Laing asked how many phones Cowdrey owned, to which Miss Dye replied, “I don’t remember. At least two.”

When she was questioned by police in October, 2013, she told them she asked Cowdrey why he had more than one phone and he answered: “To stay one step ahead of the law.”

Much of the evidence in the trial is based upon transport and communication used by the defendants. This comes from mobile phone billing records, data from cell masts and recordings from ANPR cameras along various motorway routes.

The prosecution alleges the defendants were all in possession of a number of phones at any one time, which, she says, the police have termed, ‘phones used for dirty business’.

An iPad registered in Kerry Rudder’s name was seized by police on May 30, 2013, from the home she shared with Simon Penton.

Police Constable Darren Johnson, of the major crime team, said there were searches on it for words including Michael, Griffiths, Fernhurst, Antiques, Roadshow, diamonds, evidence, death, witness, police, uniforms, fire, and smoke.

The iPad does not show when the words were inputted into the device.

Giving evidence, Detective Constable Richard Slaughter told the court police had seized two computers from an address used by Munford.

Upon examining the computer in November, data showed it had been used in the early hours of January 23, 2013. An adult dating website had been used, under the username ‘Tony’.

It was, said constable Slaughter, the login used by Munford.

The defence for Harvey Munford, Mr Andrew Turton, said: “The computer also showed searches in 2012 for ‘Russian hand to hand combat’ showing an interest in Russian martial arts.”

The trial continues.

 
 
 

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