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Man strangled to death for a £10 bag of crack cocaine

PUBLISHED: 13:11 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:07 12 November 2019

James Greene. Photo: Norfolk police

James Greene. Photo: Norfolk police

Archant

A man falsely accused his lodger of stealing £10 of drugs from him just before he was strangled, a court has heard.

The flat at Dolphin Grove where James Greene was fatally injured. Photo: Luke PowellThe flat at Dolphin Grove where James Greene was fatally injured. Photo: Luke Powell

James Greene, 39, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Thursday, June, 6, following an attack at Dolphin Grove, in Norwich, where he lived, on June 4.

Peter Bruton, now 27, has gone on trial accused of the murder of Mr Greene, which he denies.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, opened the crown's case on Tuesday, November 12 and said Mr Greene died as a result of injury sustained during an incident in his flat two days earlier involving his lodger Bruton.

Mr Gair said: "During the course of that evening this defendant forcibly compressed the neck of Mr Greene over a significant period of time with sufficient force to deprive Mr Greene's brain of blood and oxygen, which led to a catastrophic brain injury and ultimately caused his death - death by strangulation."

The court heard Mr Greene fell unconscious following the attack and never regained consciousness despite the efforts of the emergency services and he died in hospital on June 6.

Earlier on June 4, Mr Gair said Mr Greene, a drug user, had been due to go to the soup kitchen with a friend.

The jury of seven men and four women heard Mr Greene had "no money" and was "desperate for £10 worth of drugs".

Mr Gair said he hatched a plan, "a cheat" on Bruton, also a drug user, that he would "accuse this defendant of taking a £10 bag of crack cocaine from him and he would demand that Bruton would pay him back either £10 or a bag of drugs".

He said Mr Greene called a friend to say: "Didn't I have £10 worth in my bedroom?" and going along with the story, the friend agreed.

Mr Greene was then heard to say "give me my £10 or I'm going to hit you with this bottle" before telling his friend he would get back to him.

Mr Gair said it was quite clear "something was kicking off" in the flat with "very loud screaming" heard before police arrived shortly before 10pm.

Mr Greene was found lying on the floor in the lounge, while Bruton was still in the flat and threatened with a taser before being arrested.

Bruton was interviewed by officers and told them he was threatened by Mr Greene with a bottle.

He said he "held him down and strangled him" and "wanted him dead".

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Greene died as a result of compression of the neck resulting in hypoxic ischaemic brain injury.

The trial continues.

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