Murder trial is told of tortured letter to girl

A STUDENT accused with a friend of murdering a stranger in a bizarre commando initiation test, told a girl before the alleged attack that 'the light inside me is dying' and 'my soul is lying somewhere half to hell', a court at the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

In a tortured two-page letter, Richard Elsey, 19, accused of restraining Mohammed El-Sayed while Jamie Petrolini, also 19, slit his throat and stabbed him to death, wrote: 'Nothing seems worth living for. I'm not a boy, I'm a machine that lives. No feelings.'

In the letter to Tina Duff, a fellow student at Modes Study Centre in Oxford, which was read in court, he said he had happy memories of being 'a child with his sister in a park, throwing snowballs, laughing, calling for help from mummy and daddy.

'But then I return and the memories with me, the violence, pain, the sister lying in the rain, blood everywhere, on my clothes, on the car on the road .

. . on my soul that is now in hell . . . I have become an animal, with only one thing on my mind to live and let die.'

Margaret Williams, another student at the crammer, said Mr Elsey told her that his sister died in a car accident.

Others who studied for A-levels with Mr Elsey and Mr Petrolini described their close relationship and obsession with the Army. Annie Jones said that she and friends met Mr Petrolini, a former pupil of Gordonstoun, one night marching down a street in Oxford with Mr Elsey right beside his face shouting 'Left, Right, Left, Right'. She said the latter was so serious he appeared not to see them.

Ms Duff said she saw Mr Petrolini running with a heavy rucksack apparently being trained for the paratroops by Mr Elsey, who claimed he was already a member. She described Mr Elsey as 'solemn and introverted' and as the more dominant of the two.

Barbara Pitman, Mr Petrolini's former landlady, described him as a nice young man but said that some people thought him a 'weirdo'. He embarrassed her by doing press-ups on the pavement.

The jury saw a security camera film of the friends posing as plain- clothes detectives at the Golden Horse Shoe Casino in Queensway, west London, last November. They were asked to leave by the manager who did not believe their story that they were police officers looking for youths preying on local businessmen. Mr El-Sayed gambled in the same casino on the night that he was murdered.

Mr El-Sayed was found slumped in his grey Audi car, soaked in blood, on 16 January this year. Dr Ian Hill, pathologist, said his throat had been cut twice and he had been stabbed 12 times in the chest and once on the arm.

David Calvert-Smith, for the prosecution, alleges that the students decided to murder Mr El- Sayed when they could not find a pimp or drug dealer. Mr Calvert- Smith said they might have committed the 'perfect crime' but Mr Petrolini could not keep quiet when they returned to college.

Mr Elsey, of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and Mr Petrolini, of Grantown-on-Spey, Highland, deny murder. Mr Elsey claims he thought Mr Petrolini was only going to rob Mr El- Sayed. Mr Petrolini has admitted the killing but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He says he believed his friend was in the paratroops or Special Air Service and that the killing was an initiation test.

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?