Steven McMyler manslaughter trial: Defendants were "opportunistic predators", prosecutor tells jury

Five males accused of killing and robbing a man in the grounds of Wigan Parish Church were “opportunistic predators”, a jury has been told.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 4:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 4:36 pm

Steven McMyler, 34, died in the church grounds after being kicked in the head with a “substantial level of force” on the evening of August 6. It is alleged he was the victim of a plot to rob his expensive Rolex watch.

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Four defendants found not guilty of murder of man outside Wigan Parish Church

Lewis Peake, 30, of James Street, Little Lever, Bolton, Michael Wilson, 20, of Northfield Close, Kirkby, and two youths from Merseyside who cannot be identified for legal reasons, all deny charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob. Jordan Short, 20, will face a jury at a later date due to illness. All previously faced murder charges, which were dropped week.

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Jurors have now heard all the evidence in the trial surrounding Mr McMyler's death

Today at Manchester Crown Square, after several days of evidence came to an end, prosecutor Mark Ford QC began his closing speech to the jury, calling the defendants “opportunistic predators” who were “unwilling to accept responsibility” for their actions.

“This is a case in which greed, thuggery and cowardice are prominent features,” Mr Ford said.

“{None of the defendants] have given evidence. It’s up to you, ladies and gentlemen, what you make of that.

“We say that the silence of all the defendants speaks for itself. This case has featured evidence from prosecution witnesses, from young people.

The trial is taking place at Manchester Crown Square

“But these defendants have not submitted themselves to your scrutiny by giving evidence, nor have they made themselves available for cross examination by the Crown.”

Mr Ford went on: “There’s only one reason for their silence - they haven’t got a defence.

“We submit that these defendants are unwilling to accept responsibility for greed and thuggish behaviour. They are hiding behind silence.

“They are... opportunistic predators who saw an opportunity to take advantage of a man who was alone and, you may think, vulnerable.

Police at the scene of Wigan Parish Church in August 2020, after the discovery of Mr McMyler's body

“They did not intend to kill him, we have always maintained that to be the position. But they certainly didn’t hesitate to use violence as a group.”

The jury also heard the closing argument of Michael Brady QC, defending Lewis Peake. Peake is alleged to have offered the other four suspects cash to assault Mr McMyler so that he could steal his £11k watch, before the other suspects turned on him and attacked him with a glass bottle.

Mr Brady said: “Is it not much more likely that, rather than being the orchestrator of the violence against Mr McMyler, that Mr Peake got caught up in the violence, because of his association with Mr McMyler?

“If Mr Peake was party to this conspiracy, why was he attacked and robbed himself?”

The trial continues tomorrow, May 7.

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