Defence barrister in Northampton trial accuses four co-defendants of murder in bid to save his own client

Five young men stand accused of stabbing Reece to death ina botched robbery at Cordwainer House in St James
Five young men stand accused of stabbing Reece to death ina botched robbery at Cordwainer House in St James

A defence barrister has accused four co-defendants of taking the lead in an alleged Northampton murder in a bid to save his own client from jail.

A trial over the death of Reece Ottaway is drawing to a close after four weeks of evidence.

Reece Ottaway

Reece Ottaway

Five young men stand accused of stabbing Reece to death in a botched robbery at Cordwainer House for drugs and money - and the prosecution's case is all five are guilty of murder.

All five men deny murder - but one defendant, Ethan Stirling, 21, of Baukewell Court, Lumbertubs - claims he never entered the flat during the fatal stabbing, and stood back on a staircase.

And, at Northampton Crown Court today, his defence barrister Mr Richard Jory QC used his closing speech to point the blame at the four other defendants in an attempt to convince the jury his own client was innocent.

The accusatory speech comes after prosecutor Mr David Herbert QC yesterday admitted it was not clear which defendant stabbed Reece - but made the case that all five young men were guilty of murder.

In contrast, Mr Jory spelt out his own interpretation of the evidence.

He told the jury: "There is, in fact, no reason to doubt what [Stirling] says. There have been no obvious contradictions in his account.

"Evidence shows Reece was injured by two bladed weapons.

"Three wounds were likely inflicted by Cameron Higgs, and are consistent with the knife he carried.

"And the other wounds were likely inflicted by Adison Smith with the machete.

"And he was hit in the back by the baseball bat likely carried by Alfie Drage.

"And they were likely encouraged by Jordan Kimpton, who held the BB gun to Reece's head.

"Ethan Stirling said all this in his police interview [...]. He said he stayed in the hallway [...] and we say there is no reason to doubt what he says."

Stirling did not take the witness stand to give evidence himself during the trial.

Reece's partner, who witnessed the attack and says she was threatened to stay on a bed by a man with a baseball bat, claims she saw "five men" in the flat at the time.

The defence barristers of the four remaining defendants are yet to make their closing speeches.

Reece Ottaway was stabbed to death in a flat in Cordwainer House, St James, in the early hours of February 1. He was 23.

The five men accused of Reece Ottaway's murder are:

- Cameron Higgs, 20, of Chestnut Close, Milton Malsor, who claims he took no part in the attack. He also claims he took a knife to the flat but did not produce it.

- Jordan Crowley (also known as Jordan Kimpton), 21, of Sam Harrison Way, Duston, who claims his involvement was to hold a BB gun to Reece's head and took no part in the attack.

- Alfie Drage, 20, of Clover Street, Upton, who claims he took no part in the attack. He reportedly told a friend in Birmingham just days later that he took a baseball bat to the flat.

- Adison Smith, 20, of no fixed address, who was injured in the incident in the flat and claims he took no part in the attack.

- Ethan Stirling, aged 21, of Baukewell Court, Lumbertubs, who claims he never entered the flat and waited on a staircase with a rucksack.

All five except Stirling have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob Reece of drugs and money.

The trial continues.