THREE men lured a “homosexual” housemate into a kitchen before taking it in turns to stab and bludgeon him with a claw hammer, a jury heard.
Taking the stand for the first time at his murder trial, French hotel worker Sebastian Bendou, 37, gave his version of the events that led to the death of Ryanair steward Christophe Borgye in 2009.
Mr Borgye’s body was found in May last year in a concrete “tomb” in the backyard outhouse of a home the men shared in Ellesmere Port after Bendou called police to confess to the killing.
He has admitted manslaughter but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility as a result of mental illness.
Speaking through an interpreter, Bendou told Chester Crown Court yesterday his friend Dominik Kocher had planned the murder, claiming Mr Borgye was a French spy who intended to rape his daughter.
Kocher was also said to be angry about an alleged homosexual relationship between Mr Borgye and Manuel Wagner, another housemate and long-time friend of both Kocher and Bendou.
Bendou said Kocher, a married father-of-three, used him as an “instrument” to help kill Mr Borgye, a man he had known for about three years.
The pair, joined by Mr Wagner, laid tarpaulin in the kitchen of the house on Hylton Court, Stanney Grange, and wore blue plastic overshoes on their feet.
“Christophe was in his bedroom and Dominik called him down,” Bendou said.
“Manuel was the one who did the first blow. Dominik couldn’t stand it [that Mr Wagner and Mr Borgye had had a homosexual relationship and decided he [Wagner] was going to give the first blow. He gave about seven or eight blows of the hammer.
“The second person was Dominik and he used the knife. He put the knife into his neck and said ‘that’s for my children’.
“I took the hammer and I struck him three times in the head. I was totally manipulated by Dominik. I was like a puppet.”
Kocher was found guilty of Mr Borgye’s murder at an earlier trial, while at a separate hearing Mr Wagner was found not guilty of assisting an offender and preventing an unlawful burial.
The court heard that in the days leading up to Mr Borgye’s death on April 23, 2009, Kocher had visited building suppliers, DIY stores and an Asda supermarket to buy materials, a tarpaulin and knives.
“He was preparing the bricks [for the tomb] at the same time as Christophe was going to work,” Bendou said.
Asked by defence counsel Simon Medland, why he had not warned his “friend” of the impending danger, Bendou said: “I don’t know. I was naïve. I was used as an instrument. If it had been me on my own I wouldn’t have done it.”
Bendou said he had been “indoctrinated” and blindly believed Kocher’s story that Mr Borgye was a secret agent sent to ensure his wife was deported back to France, where she had tax issues.
He was told “the Americans” wanted Mr Borgye dead and had offered Kocher an ultimatum during several clandestine telephone conversations.
“Dominik was given the choice by the Americans either to get rid of Christophe or the Americans would get rid of Christophe themselves,” Bendou told jurors.
“In fact I think the Americans wouldn’t have eliminated him and Dominik made the wrong choice.
“I told him twice not to do it. I said we shouldn’t do this. We should let the Americans deal with it. [Dominik said] Christophe wanted to rape his daughter so he would do it himself. He said he [Mr Borgye] is going to come out of this house feet first. I didn’t want to do it. He said ‘you’d better do it because I’m watching you,’.”
Bendou then moved to Warrington and later to Scotland with the Kocher family and Mr Wagner and continued to pay all his wages into Kocher’s account as he had done for eight years. But in May last year he fled in the direction of Ellesmere Port.
“I was frightened for my life,” he said. “I thought he [Kocher] wanted to terminate me. I heard them talking and heard them say they want to eliminate me. I was going to Ellesmere Port… and my conscience said to me you’ve got to give yourself in now.”