Man accused of financier's death reveals drug habit

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The Independent Online

One of two men accused of murdering the financier John Monckton told the Old Bailey that he had robbed the banker's home to pay off drug debts.

Elliot White, a former heroin and cocaine addict, denies murdering Mr Monckton but has pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery.

He described how he had held Mr Monckton in a bear-hug as the wealthy householder was stabbed by his alleged accomplice, Damien Hanson.

White said he had not known that Mr Hanson was armed when he went to rob the Moncktons' home in Chelsea, west London. Giving evidence in his own defence, he described how they bluffed the Moncktons into opening the front door. White said that he was wearing postman's clothing given to him by Mr Hanson. He had been told that only a woman would be in the house. He owed about £2,000 to drug dealers at the time and was desperate, he told the court.

White, from Shepherd's Bush, west London, and Mr Hanson, of no fixed address, both 24, deny murdering Mr Monckton, 49, a senior bonds director with Legal & General, on 29 November last year. They also deny the attempted murder of his wife, Homeyra Monckton, and wounding with intent.

Mr Hanson also denies a charge of robbery.

The Moncktons were allegedly targeted because they were wealthy - Mr Hanson in particular was accused of being "obsessed" with the rich. White said he had been told there was a house in Chelsea "where a woman would be present alone and she had valuable diamonds - green ones".

He said that Mr Hanson buzzed the intercom and said "something along the lines that he had a parcel for someone".

White had left school at 16 with 10 GCSEs and had studied art and design at college.He said he had developed a drugs habit after leaving college. In 2001 he was jailed for possession with intent to supply. He was arrested again in 2004 and made the subject of a rehabilitation order and attended a treatment centre for five days a week.

White said he had been clean of drugs since February last year. However, he still owed money to drug dealers who had threatened him with violence.

The trial continues.