Judge continues summing up in Telford murder trial of three teenagers

Jurors in a murder trial have been told they will have to decide how to deal with DNA and forensic evidence that is contested by the prosecution and defence sides of the case.

Peter Cairns
Peter Cairns

Three teenagers have been jointly accused of the murder of Peter Cairns, 26, and an assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his friend Kaine Bushell, 21, in Telford on June 11, 2021.

A fourth teenager has admitted the murder charge but the three teenagers in the dock at Stafford Crown Court deny both the accusations. None of the teenagers – one aged 14 at the time and the other two aged 15 – can be identified for legal reasons.

The judge, Lord Justice Spencer continued his summing up of the case on Wednesday following a two-day adjournment.

The four young men had gone out into Rough Park Way from Woodside to Brookside carrying a knife, a blunt Samurai sword and a wheel-brace. One of the young men had admitted handling a hammer but only to throw it away.

Mr Cairns was pronounced dead at 10.20pm on the day, following a stab wound to the heart, the trial has been told.

The jury heard that even with a wound to the heart Mr Cairns made the first 999 call to police at 7.15pm. Among other injuries he also had some circular bruising caused by an object which had hit him so hard that flesh in the spot had turned to liquid.

But forensic examination of the bruises had been unable to pinpoint the cause. It could have been made by the hammer, the wheel-brace, or by falling onto the handlebars of the moped or colliding with a post.

The court heard that the wheel-brace that had been used to hit Kaine Bushell had some of Peter Cairns' DNA on it, but none of Mr Bushell's. The judge reminded the jury of expert evidence that says some people are "better shedders" of DNA than others.

Defence barristers say the DNA could have transferred on to Mr Bushell's jacket from Peter Cairns, who had been holding on to his friend as they rode on a moped.

And when Mr Bushell was hit on his left elbow, some of his friend's DNA had got on to the end of the wheel-brace.

The court was reminded that the prosecution's case was "more straightforward, that he had been also hit by the wheel-brace and the DNA had transferred in that way."

Jurors have also been told how to handle the prosecution's "circumstantial" case, which has no CCTV evidence of the attack itself.

The court was also reminded what happened after the tragic incident as the group made their way back to Madeley where clothing was dumped by the Six Bells pub, a distance of 1.5 miles from the scene in Rough Park Way.

Two of the defendants were filmed on CCTV at the Tesco Express in Warrensway, acting out moves which the prosecution say was a display of assault on Peter Cairns. The defence claims it was of the attack on Kaine Bushell, which they said was carried out in self defence.

Witnesses who saw the young men afterwards told the trial that there had been boasting, "smirking and gloating" afterwards about the attack, near the Madeley Court Hotel, while sweating and shaking. One of the defendants said he had been full of adrenaline when speaking that he had "slashed", "ripped him up" and "tore him apart" with a blunt Samurai sword.

The judge reminded the jury that a witness had described how the young men had been discussing "looking at an M-charge" when discussing the consequences after the events of the evening.

The judge is to continue his summing up on Thursday and told the jury he expects to send them out to consider their verdicts before lunchtime.

The trial continues.

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