Coroner clashes with man cleared of three murders

Arran Coghlan's account of heavily armed boxer's death is described as 'difficult' to believe

A businessman who has been charged with three murders but convicted of none clashed yesterday with a coroner who said he had "difficulty" accepting his account of the most recent of the deaths.

Arran Coghlan wanted Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg to find that he had lawfully killed Stephen Akinyemi in self-defence when he shot him through the temple at his home in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

Mr Coghlan, 39, was charged with the 44-year-old's murder last year but was cleared. He had previously been cleared in 1996 of murdering drug dealer Chris Little, and in 2001 of the murder of David Barnshaw, who was burned alive.

The inquest into Mr Akinyemi's death also presented Mr Coghlan with the opportunity to challenge police over their conduct of a case centring on the events of 9 February last year, when Mr Akinyemi, an accomplished boxer, died after a struggle in which he was shot three times with a 9mm Beretta pistol.

Mr Coghlan said he was trying to arbitrate in a dispute between Mr Akinyemi and another associate when Mr Akinyemi produced the pistol and a knife.

Mr Rheinberg challenged him: "What I have difficulty with is how you, the less [physically] accomplished, managed to defend yourself when completely unarmed against a man wielding a gun and ... a knife."

Mr Coghlan replied: "Really? So you think I should have died in the process? That would have made you pleased? Now you want to draw an adverse criticism [of] me because I survived. What else could I have done?"

Mr Rheinberg responded: "If you look from the outside, you would be surprised by your survival." He then told Mr Coghlan that his testimony was finished – but the businessman retorted that he had "not finished".

Mr Coghlan raised evidence that Mr Akinyemi's non-blood DNA was found on one of the four bullet casings recovered from the scene. This suggested he might have handled the ammunition.

He also focused on blood patterns on the knife, which suggested he was stabbed with it before the gun was fired.

"We will deal in this court with proper respect," the coroner replied, ordering Mr Coghlan to resume his seat. He complied only after the coroner's officer politely reiterated the request, saying: "Thank you for saying please. Teach your friend [the coroner] some respect."

Returning an open verdict, Mr Rheinberg concluded: "What happened in Mr Coghlan's house is known only to Mr Coghlan. There is no way of knowing the sequence of events as they occurred, though that's not to say you are not telling the truth, Mr Coghlan."

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home