Halfway House murder trial: Worker felt ‘uneasy’ about accused
A worker at a cafe where the owner was found dead has told the jury that she felt uneasy about the story given by the man accused of killing him.
Businessman Satnam Singh Blugher, aged 67, was discovered with multiple injuries at Tony’s Diner, in Halfway House, near Shrewsbury, in June.
Giving evidence, Christina Maddox who was working there as a waitress, told Stafford Crown Court she had concerns about the version of events given by another employee Belkar Singh after the victim was found on June 26.
Miss Maddox told she jury she was told about Mr Blugher’s death by another colleague Ram Gee, with whom she was involved in a relationship at the time on the day the body was found. She explained that Mr Gee had told her that Singh had said Mr Blugher, known locally as Mr B, went the pub after closing the diner on June 25.
“Ram phoned Mr Singh from my house. It took a few tries to get through to him. I decided to record the conversation,” Miss Maddox said.
The case so far:
- Argument heard at diner, jury is told
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- Owner was stabbed nearly 50 times at diner near Shrewsbury, jury hears
Mr David Mason QC, prosecuting barrister asked her: “Why?”
Miss Maddox replied: “Something didn’t feel right about how he’d said that Mr B had gone to the pub the night before. It didn’t feel right. Ram wasn’t there and Mark wasn’t there, so Mr B wouldn’t have gone to the pub on his own.”
She said that she used the speaker phone setting to record the discussion between the two men although they were speaking in Punjabi and she didn’t understand the language.
Miss Maddox told the jury that she knew that Mr Blugher’s habit was to visit the Halfway House Pub only on a Monday night when he was off work, and that he usually went there with Mr Gee and a man called” Mark”.
She added that she last saw the victim shortly before 9pm on June 25 when he let her out after closing the diner for the evening.
She broke down in tears as she told the jury that the last thing Mr Blugher said to her was, “adios Tina, enjoy your evening”.
Under cross-examination by Mr Jo Sidhu QC, defending barrister, she said Mr Blugher had told her off in front of customers when she started the job for getting coffee orders wrong, but said after she got used to his managerial style they got on better and he treated her well.
At the hearing yesterday, the jury was also shown CCTV footage of Singh purchasing vodka at the shop next the diner and footage of Miss Maddox driving away from the site after work.
Singh, 58, of Booth Street, Birmingham, denies murdering Mr Blugher. The pair were alone at the premises after Miss Maddox departed after her shift.
Singh allegedly fled the premises in a taxi the following morning and the Sunday takings of almost £800 along with Mr Blugher’s life savings of almost £47,0000 were found in his bags.
The businessman was found by his son Hardeep on the kitchen floor on the afternoon on June 26 after concerns that no one had seen him. He had been stabbed and struck up to 50 times.
The Crown alleges that Singh was motivated by greed and attacked the victim for money.
The trial continues.
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