Chalcots murder trial: Defendants blame each other for Hannah Leonard’s death as court told street fight CCTV is ‘virtual trailer’ for killing

Hannah Leonard

Hannah Leonard - Credit: Metropolitan Police

Lawyers clashed as two defendants accused of the murder of Hannah Leonard, 55, turned on each other at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

James Whitaker, 29, claims to have played no part in the killing of Ms Leonard, who lived in Bray Tower on the Chalcots Estate, and his barrister argued CCTV shown earlier in the trial of co-defendant Lucy Casey turning violent in the street was a “unique prediction” of what would occur in Ms Leonard’s flat, where prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC argue she was stabbed up to forty times.

Representing Whitaker, John Cooper QC also told the jury there was “absolutely no incriminating forensic evidence against him”.

Mr Cooper contrasted this with the case against Casey. He told the jury: “You may absolutely conclude that Lucy Casey stamped on the face of Hannah Leonard. There are the wavy marks on Hannah Leonard’s face.”

He reminded the jury of expert testimony earlier in the case which affirmed the footprints left on Hannah Leonard’s body could only have come from the trainers of Lucy Casey or Hannah Leonard herself.

“It shows she is capable of stamping on someone’s face, what level of brutality makes a human being stamp on someone’s face?”

Casey, of Claire Court in Kilburn, and Whitaker, 28, of Chamberlayne Road in Kensal Rise are accused of the killing which took place on the night of February 5 to 6 this year.

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Defending Casey, 43, Mr Henry Blaxland QC said: “Mr Whitaker is somebody who regularly carried a knife, and it is only a matter of time before he carried out the threats he had so regularly made to others.

“He was well are of his own danger to others and he knew what he was capable of doing.”

“Other than what the two defendants say about each other there’s no direct evidence in this case about how Hannah Leonard came to be killed.

“No motive has been convincingly established for Lucy Casey to have killed Hannah Leonard, and the forensic evidence does not solve the problem for you.”

Earlier this week, Casey claimed to have slept through the attack, only to awake with Whitaker stood above the dying victim.

Whitaker however claimed to have been hiding in the toilet during the violence.

Mr Cooper said his client was “a pathetic man”, but added: “There’s a wealth of evidence showing that he [Whitaker] was not responsible for this and basic logic says it has to have been Ms Casey.”

Referring to CCTV of Casey fighting in the street with ex-partner Wayne Dillon on the evening shown to the jury earlier this week, he told the court: “You are in the unique position of having a virtual trailer of what happened later based on what happened outside of the Sir Colin Campbell pub.”

“On that CCTV you see the violence – the punching and the spitting. You see a woman [Casey] looking for trouble when crossed and unwilling to walk away.”

He argued her previous conviction for GBH was also precedent for the “brutality” of Hannah Leonard’s death.

This morning the judge was expected to sum up the case before sending the jury out to deliberate.

The trial continues.