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)

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
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

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments