Two appear in court on murder charge

Two men who offered police conflicting versions of how a 22 year old man died appeared in court today accused of his murder. A jury at Cambridge Crown Court was told to expect the trial of 43 year-old Adrian Pettingale of Prospect Place, Wisbech, and Neil Gowler, 26, of Golding Place, Wisbech, to take at least three weeks and possibly a month.

Two men who offered police conflicting versions of how a 22 year old man died appeared in court today accused of his murder.

A jury at Cambridge Crown Court was told to expect the trial of 43 year-old Adrian Pettingale of Prospect Place, Wisbech, and Neil Gowler, 26, of Golding Place, Wisbech, to take at least three weeks and possibly a month.

Both deny murdering Ben Wilson last November at Gowler's home in Golding Place, Wisbech.

Karim Khalil, prosecuting, told the jury: “The case against the two accused is that they jointly were involved in assaulting Ben Wilson, Gowler principally by the use of a table leg which was in his flat and Pettingale, who joined in by kicking.

“Each defendant in their defence blames the other. So far as Gowler is concerned he said in direct terms he did nothing to cause injury to the deceased. He says he was asleep at the time and woke to see Pettingale kicking Ben Wilson.”

But Mr Khalil continued: “So far as Pettingale is concerned, he first said he was not present at the time of the assault. He then changed his position and conceded his presence saying that he had been there and was in the company of just the deceased and Gowler.

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“He said Gowler got up, fetched the table leg, and assaulted Ben Wilson with it. All Pettingale said he did was to offer some form of comfort to Ben Wilson and dialled for the ambulance service.

“He said he had earlier denied being present out of an improper belief that he should help his friend Gowler."

The judge, the Hon Justice David Bean, adjourned for lunch, saying the case would resume with the court going straight to examining the men's differing versions of what happened.

Mr Wilson died in Addenbroke's Hospital some days after being admitted with serious head injuries. His family later issued a statement saying they were "devastated at the loss of a loving son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, partner and friend."