May 23 2013 Latest news:
Friday, June 22, 2012
A MAN accused of a double shooting at a caravan park where he lived has told a court he panicked and fled from the site after hearing gunshots.
Giving evidence during his trial at Ipswich Crown Court Christopher Line said he had been watching DVDs in a converted stable block at Willow Park, Beck Row, near Mildenhall, at about 10pm when he heard a “whooshing” sound outside.
He looked out and saw a caravan and a toilet block on the plot he shared with his employer Sam Vinden on fire.
Line, 29, went outside to check on horses and dogs in a stable block and heard “a lot of banging and popping”.
He estimated there were 10 bangs and said he initially thought they had come from the burning caravans.
After checking on the animals he tried to ring Mr Vinden, who was away from the site with his family, and he then claimed he realised the sounds he had heard were gunshots.
When he got through to Mr Vinden he told him what was going on and said he was going to leave the site but claimed that Mr Vinden told him not to be so stupid and to wait for the emergency services to arrive.
“I hung up and left,” Line said. “I’d heard gunshots. I didn’t want to stay there. I was panicking so I went.”
Line told his barrister Robert Woodcock QC he had spent the night in a local churchyard and denied seeing the body of 20-year-old Shane Hill on a pathway or a Toyota MR2 containing the body of 29-year-old David Castell as he left Willow Park.
Line has denied murdering Mr Castell and Mr Hill, both of Southend, on March 15 last year. It has been alleged that Line shot the men dead at point-blank range in an execution-style killing after they drove to Willow Park in Mr Castell’s Toyota MR2 to set light to caravans on a plot occupied by Line and Mr Vinden and his family.
The court has heard that police officers who went to the caravan park after neighbours heard gunshots found the body of Mr Hill, who had been shot six times, on a pathway and the body of Mr Castell, who had been shot up to four times, in a burning car.
During his evidence yesterday Line told the court he had lived and worked for Mr Vinden since he was 16 and that Mr Vinden would sometimes beat him if he was not happy with work he had done or if Line got drunk.
He said he was aware that Mr Vinden had fallen out with a number of people over land deals including two members of his family.
Line said he and Mr Vinden had been warned by police about threats to their lives but said he had not sought police help or protection because he knew Mr Vinden would protect him.
The trial continues on Monday.