Neill Buchel murder trial: Defendant chose not to dignify accusations by giving evidence

Police at Eastbrookend Country Park in Rush Green, where Neill Buchel's dismembered body was found

Police at Eastbrookend Country Park in Rush Green, where Neill Buchel's dismembered body was found - Credit: Archant

One of the men accused of killing Neill Buchel chose not to give evidence in his defence because the case against him “did not deserve to be dignified” by an appearance in the witness box.

Speaking in the defence of Elvis Kwiatkowski, 36, of Clopton Close, Royston, who pleads not guilty to stamping and kicking the father-of-two to death, David Spens QC tore into the prosecution at Blackfriars Crown Court this afternoon.

“The evidence is so weak that it did not require an answer from him,” he told the jury.

“It did not deserve to be dignified by him going into the witness box and giving evidence in his own defence.

“We suggest that when you come to examining it, the quality of evidence against him is so weak that you cannot be safely sure of his guilt.”

Speaking at length for the first time since the trail began in January, Mr Spens claimed there was a lack of certainty in the prosecution case.

“Why have you seen so little of me?” he asked the jury

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“That is because there is precious little evidence to prove that Mr Kwiatowski was involved in the fatal attack that caused Mr Buchel’s death.

“What little there is we suggest is of poor quality. It’s contradictory and comes from unreliable people, some of whom we know were taking drugs and or alcohol, [witness] Amber Eyres.

“Others we have heard from have an interest in themselves, Hunt and Quye.”

Kwiatowski was part of the group that included Buchel and co-defendant Chas Quye, 36, of Stansgate Road, Dagenham, who spent the afternoon of March 13 – hours before the murder – drinking at the nearby park.

“You may remember that Mr Kwiatowksi had been living with his mother and stepfather Mr Baker,” Mr Spens continued.

“From a text message, we know that he left Cambridge about 10.50am on March 13, and was in the vicinity of ‘The Green’ by 12.33pm.

“[Pathologist] Dr Swift told us at the time of death Mr Buchel was suffering from two other serious injuries that cannot have been cause by Mr Kwiatowski.

“The first of those was a significant head injury to the brain caused some 36 to 40 hours before death.

“It’s claimed that Mr Buchel died on the night of the 13th and 14th so the head injury cannot have been caused by Mr Kwiatowski.

“The second injury was an injury to his right knee.

“Before Mr Kwiatowksi arrived at the Green, [witness] Michael Young claimed Mr Buchel was limping quite badly, so bad that he offered him some crutches he had at home.

“He claimed Mr Buchel told them ‘they hit me with hammers on the legs’.

“Megan [Buchel] said her father didn’t want to kick the ball much.

“She said he’d bet them to hammer his knee caps with a hammer. The hammer injuries were inflicted 18 to 20 hours before death.

“This shows others, not Mr Kwiatowski, were inflicting injuries on Mr Buchel before the fatal attack.”

Highlighting previous reported violence against Buchel, the lawyer suggested a history of stamping on Buchel, dating back to an attack in December 2013 that landed the South African in hospital

Holding a picture taken on Quye’s phone of the heavily bruised face of the Buchel, Spens addressed the jury.

“When we first look at this it’s shocking and appalling,” he said.

“Megan said that someone had stamped on his face with something heavy.

“She said he told her that someone had stamped on his face and that he was powerless to stop it.

“Megan said this to police on March 27 2014. She was talking about stamping before the cause of her father’s death was known.”

Moving on to the alleged attacks and violent incidents that took place between Quye and Buchel before his death, Mr Spens suggested it was becoming a natural occurrence for the defendant.

“You may think that the cases of violence inflicted by Mr Quye on Mr Buchel before March 13 determined that Mr Quye had become accustomed to inflicting violence,” he said. “Maybe something to do with his childhood.

“We know that inflicting violence meant nothing to him. It was part of his routine.”

The trial continues.