Clawhammer killing accused 'under housemate's spell'


Natalie Barnett

HOUSEMATES have told a murder trial how a Frenchman who killed an air steward with a clawhammer, would do “anything his closest friend told him to”.

Sebastian Bendou, a former hotel kitchen porter in Chester, has admitted the manslaughter of Ryanair steward Christophe Borgye, but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility on the basis of mental illness.

He claims he acted in self defence and told psychiatrists how another friend, Dominik Kocher, had told him Mr Borgye was a spy and had to be killed.

Mr Borgye’s body was found in May last year in a concrete tomb in a shed in the property’s back yard at Hylton Court, Stanney Grange, Ellesmere Port – almost four years after he went missing.

The body was discovered after Bendou, 35, called police to confess.

Jury members in the Chester Crown Court trial heard statements from Bendou’s numerous housemates who described him as seemingly under the complete
control of Kocher.

They said Kocher in turn acted as the landlord and would take rent payments and provide meals for Bendou.

Acquaintance Bryan Aylward, who played football with both Bendou and Kocher, described Bendou as a “sad and daft and a gentle giant, but who would do anything Kocher told him too.

Kocher was “manipulative and controlling, Mr Aylward said.

Kocher, a married father of three, who lived across the street from Bendou, was found guilty of murder at an earlier trial.

Thomas Evans, a former manager of the Game store at Cheshire Oaks, rented a room in Hylton Court for almost a year from September 2009, Giving evidence, Mr Evans described the relationship between Kocher and Bendou.

He said: “It seemed to be that Dom (Kocher) controlled the house.

“If he said ‘jump’, they would say ‘how high?’. It was that simple.”

Mr Evans said Bendou, and another housemate were like Kocher’s “puppets”. In a statement read to the court, housemates living at the address after the body had
been concealed told how they had been forbidden from going in to the outbuilding/shed at the property by Kocher and how on one occasion Kocher had gone “completely ballistic” at one tenant who had tried to force the shed door open to lock his bike inside.

Kocher began swearing and shouting, the court was told.

The court also heard how Igors Visockis, Mr Borgye’s former colleague at Ryanair, raised the alarm with police after Mr Borgye disappeared.

He also visited Mr Borgye’s previous address to ask about his whereabouts.

The jury was told how after the killing, Kocher sent an email to Mr Borgye’s brother in France, reassuring him that he had gone travelling to Ireland and Europe and had met a Chinese woman with whom he then intended to visit China.


See full story in the Chester Leader

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