THE trial has begun of a man accused of bludgeoning his friend to death and burying him in a man-made tomb.
Sebastian Bendou is charged with murdering Ryanair flight attendant Christophe Borgye in 2009 by bludgeoning him with a clawhammer and stabbing him twice before burying him in a tomb of bricks and concrete in a shed at a house they shared.
Chester Crown Court heard yesterday that Bendou, 35, called the police from a phone box in Ellesmere Port in May 2013 and told them he was responsible for killing a man four years earlier.
He was picked up and taken to the town’s police station where he admitted killing Mr Borgye in 2009 when they lived together at 19 Hylton Court, Ellesmere Port.
Bendou, of no fixed home, told the police Mr Borgye had attacked him with a knife and in self-defence he had hit Mr Borgye three times with a clawhammer which was lying on the kitchen table. Bendou said in interview he was “very scared” and did not call the hospital but instead took him into the shed and covered him in cement. He said he finally told the police because it was “too much for my mind”.
The court heard the next day Bendou took police to the house and showed police the tomb made of bricks and topped with concrete. When forensic experts broke into it they found Mr Borgye’s body wrapped in a duvet and tarpauling with a hammer and two knives.
The court was told Bendou has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Christophe Borgye on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
But Gerard McDermott QC, prosecuting, told the jury of six men and six women the prosecution did not agree with Bendou’s version of events and Bendou was influenced by another man, Dominik Kocher, to murder Mr Borgye in a row over money.
The court was told Kocher was found guilty at an earlier trial of murdering Mr Borgye and the prosecution said Kocher was the mastermind of the plan to kill Mr Borgye.
Another man, Manuel Wagner, was found not guilty of assisting an offender and preventing the unlawful burial.
Mr McDermott said Kocher had a great deal of influence over Mr Wagner, Mr Borgye and Bendou. Wagner and Bendou, who worked in kitchens, would get their wages paid straight into Kocher’s bank account while Mr Borgye would pay some of his wages to Kocher and pay all of Kocher’s £550 a month rent.
Mr McDermott said Kocher did not work but handled the affairs of the three. Kocher lived at 10 Hylton Court with his wife and children while the other three lived together at 19 Hylton Court. He said the four had known each other before they had moved into the house in Ellesmere Port, having met in 2006 when they lived in Liverpool together.
The prosecution claim Kocher planned Mr Borgye’s murder once he found out he was planning to leave the UK and live in Belgium although Mr McDermott said the true reason “may never be known”. Mr Borgye had agreed with his employer, Ryanair, to transfer to Belgium and had bought flights to Belgium using Kocher’s bank account.
Mr McDermott said the relationship between Kocher and Bendou was particularly close and they would call each other “brother”.
The court heard that in the days leading up to the murder Kocher bought a number of items from builders merchants in Ellesmere Port including concrete, bricks and limestone chippings – all of which were found in the home-made tomb.
Kocher also bought a set of three knives from a supermarket, two of which were found in the tomb with the plastic wrapping.
The court also heard after the killing a large amount of money was paid from Mr Borgye’s bank account into Kocher’s.
The prosecution say Bendou was influenced by Kocher to kill Mr Borgye for money and it was premeditated.
In the post-mortem examination it was found Mr Borgye had been stabbed twice and hit with the claw end of the hammer eight times with massive force which had caused his skull to shatter. Mr McDermott called it “an execution”.
Mr McDermott said Bendou’s story to the police was to minimise his role and protect Kocher from blame.