Robber accuses accomplice of stabbing wealthy couple

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The Independent Online

A robber accused of murdering John Monckton has described how his accomplice "lost his mind" and stabbed the financier's wife during a botched robbery, a court heard yesterday.

Elliot White, 24, also told how his alleged accomplice, Damien Hanson, was called "the Devil's child" as a boy.

A statement allegedly given to the police by Mr White after his arrest, in which he does not name his accomplice, was read out at his trial at the Old Bailey yesterday.

He told the officers: "When we were younger, my mum used to call him 666, Damien, the Devil's child. I think his first name is pretty scary."

Asked to describe Mr Hanson, Mr White said he thought he was lonely and had not had a girlfriend.

Mr White said: "His aura pushes people away. He has got a sort of evil cunningness about him."

Mr White, from Shepherd's Bush, west London, and Damien Hanson, 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, 46, at the couple's home in Chelsea, south-west London. Mr Hanson denies a charge of robbery, to which Mr White has pleaded guilty.

Mr White and his accomplice forced their way into the Monckton's home at about 7.30pm by pretending to be postmen, the court heard.

According to the police statement, Mr White told them: "Once the door had been knocked someone came to open it ... who I believe to be Mr Monckton. I was not aware there were people in the house.

"We forced our way into the house. I had a struggle with Mr Monckton. He hit me a few times in the face. I got behind him and managed to restrain him.

"I got hold of him with two hands round him. Once I had control of him, the other person went to the stairway." Mr White said he saw his accomplice "fighting a lady".

"I told him [Mr Monckton] there would be no problems provided he did not struggle. There was no problem with him at that stage.

"When I looked at the stairway I could see she [Mrs Monckton] had given jewellery to the other person [his accomplice] so I could see they had got the message." The defendant said the other person came over to him and Mr Monckton.

"I could see the lady was in distress. She said a couple of times that she was going to faint. I realised she must be injured."

Mr White said the other man then started hitting the banker "in the rib area''. He added: "I did not realise it was anything more than a fist. Within a few seconds I saw there was a problem with Mr Monckton. He began to fall down. I knew it was not just as simple as just blows.

"I managed to pull him away. I was then attacked by the same person who attacked him while Mr Monckton was on the floor.

"I could see he was injured and I was in a lot of shock and I was surprised although my adrenaline was pumping. It was something I did not expect to happen.

"I was really confused and I knew I was really injured. I was aware Mrs Monckton was injured as well." He continued: "It was clear to me that he [his accomplice] had lost his mind because there was no need to use a weapon. Everything was under control.

"He was just acting, he was just doing. There was no plan. I was just confused. I didn't understand. I was not prepared for it." He added: "I didn't realise I was stabbed until I realised there was a problem with Mr Monckton."

He later claimed: "I was under the impression I was doing a burglary. I asked him repeatedly what he was doing. That is when the knife went through my arm."

He said the knifeman left before him and he did not see where he went.

Mr Monckton was stabbed eight times. The knife pierced his heart and punctured a lung. His wife was stabbed twice in the back. The court has heard that Mr Hanson was freed under an early release scheme from a jail sentence for attempted murder and robbery only three months before the incident.

The trial continues.