SEVEN people today (Friday, February 14) appeared in Hove Crown Court in connection with the murder of Fernhurst man Michael Griffiths.
Mr Griffiths, 59, was a jewellery maker and antiques buyer. He was found dead by fire crews at his home in Old Glebe, Fernhurst, on January 24, 2013.
The prosecution today opened the trial and told jurors how Mr Griffiths’s body was found by firefighters, slumped behind his front door.
He had spent the evening of January 23 with his close friend, arriving home at around 11.30pm, where ‘burglars lay in wait’, the court heard. It is alleged the victim was targeted for precious diamonds he owned, which were worth around £40,000. Having broken into his home, burglars then torched it in a bid to destroy any evidence.
Mr Griffiths suffered extensive injuries all over his body and his hands and feet were bound.
Rebecca Rogers, 39, of Pool End Close, Shepperton, is accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Simon Penton, 43, of Markway, Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, Harvey Munford, 23, of Monks Way, Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, and Damian Krafft, 27, of High Street, Shepperton, Surrey, have all pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit a burglary at Old Glebe.
Also standing trial in connection with the murder are Kerry Rudder, 43, also of Markway, Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, and Zack Cowdrey, 23, of Staines, Surrey, alongside John Bartholomew, 72, of Cross Street, Portsmouth.
Proceedings are expected to last between six-eight weeks.
The Observer will have full coverage of the trial. See our website and next week’s paper for an update (February 20).