Steven McMyler trial: Closing defence speeches come to an end

Several males accused of killing and robbing a man in a Wigan church garden were “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” a defence barrister has told a court.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 3:39 pm
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 3:40 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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Steven McMyler

Lewis Peake is alleged to have offered four suspects cash to assault Mr McMyler so that he could steal his £11k watch.

The prosecution says that, following the kick, the other suspects turned on Peake and attacked him with a glass bottle.

Peake, 30, of James Street, Little Lever, Bolton, Michael Wilson, 20, of Northfield Close, Kirkby, and two youths aged 14 and 17 from Merseyside who cannot be identified for legal reasons, all deny charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob.

Jordan Short, 20, is alleged to have delivered the fatal kick, but will face a judge at a later date due to illness.

All had previously faced murder charges, which were dropped week following legal discussions.

Following a fortnight of evidence, the jury at Manchester Crown Square began hearing the closing arguments of the prosecution, followed by speeches by the barristers representing the four defendants.

Having previously been told by prosecutor Mark Ford QC that the defendants were “opportunistic predators” who displayed “greed, thuggery and cowardice”, the jury later heard the counter argument that the males from Merseyside with the exception of Short, it was argued, were simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“There is no reason for them to be in that church yard, other than that they are just strolling about Wigan,” the jury was told by the defence for the 17-year-old.

“They had set off from Kirkby, where they live. Young lads, teenagers, a bit aimless it would seem, walking around and looking for something to do.

“As the Crown would have it, ‘looking for trouble’, but that’s not right.

“These lads aren’t looking for trouble, they are out and about doing what teenagers do.

“They were going into the church yard because that’s where they decided to walk.

“Somebody will be saying to you... that this is a straightforward case. It isn’t,”

“The quality of the evidence is so poor that what has actually had to happen is, some of you may think, pretty much ‘scraping the barrel’.

“It’s ‘wrong place, wrong time’ for some of these lads. Not for Jordan Short who, as you know, is going to face the accusations too.

“But as far as some of these lads are concerned, it’s just wrong place, wrong time.”

The defence concluded: “It’s based on the fact that one individual kicked Steven McMyler in the head, they all ran away together, so they must all have had it in mind to do this. No, not at all. You have to look at them all individually.

The jury also heard the closing argument of Michael Brady QC, defending Lewis Peake.

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?”

Proceedings will continue on Monday, May 10.

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