Shoplifter denies murdering schoolboy

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The Independent Online
A SCHOOLBOY was killed when a shoplifter he was chasing attacked him, a court was told yesterday.

Jonathan Roberts, 17, drowned in his own vomit after being punched and kicked unconscious, having chased the shoplifter into a nearby car park, Francis Gilbert QC, for the prosecution, told Plymouth Crown Court.

Andrew Bray, 24, of Lipson, Plymouth, pleads not guilty to murdering Jonathan on 15 September last year.

Bray admitted to the police that he was guilty of manslaughter, Mr Gilbert said, but denied intending to kill him or cause really serious injury. He told the police he had only been trying to get away, and that Jonathan's death had been an accident.

But Mr Gilbert said Bray's intent at was 'at the very least' to cause very serious injury.

He told the court that Bray and his girlfriend went to Somerfield's supermarket in Plymstock, Plymouth, intending to shoplift. They each left the store without paying, pushing a trolley of goods. Four of the staff saw Bray pushing the trolley of unwrapped goods and chased him through a nearby car park.

Jonathan, who worked part-time at the supermarket, was the first to catch up with Bray. The defendant turned, adopted a fighting position and punched the shoolboy on the head causing him to double up and fall. Witnesses then saw Bray kick the boy a 'hard, deliberate blow to the body'.

'Bray then stepped back from the boy and deliberately kicked him a swinging kick on his head,' Mr Gilbert said.

A nurse from a nearby medical centre tried to revive Jonathan, but his heart had stopped and he was pronounced dead in hospital.

The trial continues today.