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Jury sent out for verdict in Peter Wrighton murder trial

PUBLISHED: 11:03 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:11 28 February 2018

Peter Wrighton. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Peter Wrighton. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Archant

The jury trying the case of a former soldier accused of murdering an 83-year-old dog walker in Norfolk woodland, have been sent out to consider its verdict.

Alexander Palmer. Picture: Facebook.Alexander Palmer. Picture: Facebook.

Peter Wrighton, a married father and grandfather from Banham, died after a rapid and frenzied knife attack in woods near to East Harling on August 5last year.

Alexander Palmer, 24, of Freesia Way, Cringleford, is on trial in Nottingham Crown Court after being charged with Mr Wrighton’s murder.

The Honourable Mr Justice Goose, who finished summing up the case yesterday, sent the jury of eight women and four men out at just after 10.30am today.

In closing address to the jury yesterday, prosecution barrister Stephen Spence said notes made by Palmer referring to voices in his head and his dislike of people, killing people, knives and stabbing and/or slashing throat as a method of killing were “prophetic” and were not a coincidence.

Mr Spence said: “We say there are no coincidences in this case.

“Having expressed desire to kill, Alex Palmer went to the Heath on that morning.

“He had in his car the knife that subsequently had gone missing and there out of the blue a man, a dog walker bred up losing his life; having his throat torn out, being stabbed through the eye to stop the staring.

“That’s no coincidence ladies and gentlemen.

“Alex Palmer went there that day to carry out his ambition, to carry out what he had written about, to carry out what he had spoken about.”

Meanwhile, the jury also heard from David Spens QC, defence barrister for Palmer who decided not to give evidence in the trial.

In his closing speech Mr Spens QC said because of what Palmer had said to mental health professionals the defendant “would appear to be a good candidate to be Mr Wrighton’s killer, I accept that.”

But he insisted the burden of proving the guilt of any defendant “lies with the prosecution from start to finish”.

He said: “The prosecution must make you sure of guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.”

He said suspicion alone was never enough to prove guilt.

Referring to some of the notes made by Palmer Mr Spens said they were a kind of “therapy” which got the thoughts out of his head and were not a “blueprint for action”.

He said at the heart of the case was pathological evidence in the case points to the killer being left-handed when his client was right-handed.

The trial continues.

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