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Murderer yawns as he is found guilty of killing his flatmate

PUBLISHED: 13:39 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:59 27 November 2019

Peter Bruton. PIC: Facebook.

Peter Bruton. PIC: Facebook.

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A jury has taken less than three hours to find a man guilty of the murder of a man in a Norwich flat.

James Greene. Photo: Norfolk policeJames Greene. Photo: Norfolk police

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, had gone on trial at Norwich Crown Court having denied the murder of Mr Greene.

But a jury of seven men and five women took less than three hours to find Bruton guilty of murder.

Bruton, who yawned as the verdict was announced on Tuesday afternoon (November 26), was told by Judge Stephen Holt "there's only one sentence I can pass" before adjourning the sentencing hearing until Friday (November 29).

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

As the verdict was announced there was a quiet call of "yes" from the public gallery where Mr Greene's sister sat.

Judge Holt praised the great dignity and courage shown by Mr Greene's family throughout the trial, adding he was extremely grateful.

The trial, which started on November 12, heard how Mr Greene died as a result of injury sustained during an incident in his flat two days earlier involving his lodger Bruton.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, 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.

During the trial Bruton, who claimed Mr Greene had threatened him with a bottle, told the jury Mr Greene was "flipping out" and trying to get something to assault me with and so he "held him by the neck until he passed out".

He said he "was just defending myself and stop it escalating into a situation where I would get hurt".

But when interviewed by police Bruton told officers he "held him down and strangled him" and "wanted him dead".

Detective inspector Neil Stewart said: "Today's verdict sees the conclusion of just over two weeks of evidence which have been traumatising for James Greene's family but ultimately have resulted in Peter Bruton being convicted of murder.

"The court has heard that while James Greene had been wrong in trying to extort money from Peter Bruton, thereafter Bruton has acted with such brutality and ferocity so as to cause catastrophic injuries."

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

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