Murder accused tells court vicar 'touched him inappropriately'

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The Independent Online

A former altar boy accused of killing and chopping up an elderly vicar he lodged with said today he had touched him inappropriately while having a bath.

Christopher Hunnisett said the Rev Ronald Glazebrook entered the bathroom in his pyjamas without knocking and sat on the rim of the bath.

The Rev Glazebrook told him he loved him and urged him to be "more giving" in their relationship at the vicar's ground-floor flat which they shared in Dane Road, St Leonards-on-sea, East Sussex, Hunnisett said.

He told his murder retrial at Lewes Crown Court he punched 81-year-old Rev Glazebrook as hard as he could after the clergyman touched his inner thigh as he bathed.

Hunnisett claimed the incident on April 27, 2001, was not the first time the vicar, described as an active, "independent spirit", had touched him inappropriately.

He said the force of the punch sent the vicar into the bath. He said he struggled with the Rev Glazebrook before freeing himself from underneath him and getting out.

Hunnisett, who was 17 at the time, said he slammed the bathroom door shut and fled to his bedroom, before placing his bed in front of his door to stop the vicar from coming in.

He told jurors he "didn't care" what condition his elderly landlord was in in the bathroom and said he found him dead in the bath the following morning.

Detailing events leading up to the death, Hunnisett, now 26, told the jury on the first day of his defence: "I was in the bath washing and doing what you do in a bath.

"At some point he came in. He sat down on the bath to talk to me. I had my head at the shower end because of the shower fitting, to use the water out of the shower.

"I can't recall the exact conversation. It was along the lines of we needed to talk and try and bury the hatchet, and put things behind us. He said he cared for me and loved me."

Hunnisett said he felt "uncomfortable" with the vicar being in the bathroom at the same time as him but that he carried on talking to him.

"He basically wanted me to show that I cared in return and he ended up at some point putting his hand on my leg, on the inner thigh of my left leg.

"I hit him. It was a twisting sort of punch. It was as hard as I could at the time. I hit his head and the force of it carried him into the bath and over. He came in head first.

"At some point he was kind of on top of me. I struggled with him to get myself out from underneath him."

Prosecutors allege Hunnisett drowned the Rev Glazebrook in his bath and then dismembered his body before dumping his body parts at woodland locations across East Sussex with his friend, Jason Groves.

The jury heard that the case was a retrial after the Court of Appeal earlier this year quashed his original conviction in 2002 for murder.

Prosecutors say that Hunnisett was introducing a "wholly unlikely story" this time round and that any suggestion of sexual abuse was never raised at the original trial.

Hunnisett and Groves pleaded guilty at the original trial to preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead person.

Hunnisett, formerly of Coventry Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, denies murder.