Teenager 'held like animal in a trap'

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The Independent Online
SUZANNE Capper was held prisoner 'like a wounded animal in a trap' before she was burned alive, a jury was told yesterday.

But Jeffrey Leigh, who saw her cowering in a wardrobe a week before she was turned into a human torch, admitted that he did nothing to help her. Mr Leigh, 27, said that he might have relocked a wardrobe with the terrified 16-year- old girl still inside, but if he had he was acting on the orders of another defendant.

The court has been told that Suzanne was tied to a bed, beaten and tortured for nearly a week before being taken to a remote wood near Stockport in Cheshire, doused in petrol and set alight.

She died four days later in hospital.

Mr Leigh, along with Glyn Powell, 28, his estranged wife Jean Powell, 26, Bernadette McNeilly, 24, and Anthony Dudson, 17, all of Moston, Manchester, deny murdering Suzanne last December.

Continuing his evidence at Manchester Crown Court, Mr Leigh told the jury yesterday that Ms McNeilly had invited him to look in the wardrobe, which was when he saw Suzanne for the first time. She had been beaten and her head was shaved.

During questioning by Anthony Morris QC, who appears for Mr Powell, Mr Leigh admitted that Suzanne looked like a wounded animal in a trap.

But Mr Leigh denied taking any part in the atrocities she had suffered before other defendants took her away and she was set on fire.

Cross-examined by Peter Openshaw QC, for the prosecution, Mr Leigh admitted that he had acted as Suzanne's 'jailer'. He told the jury: 'If I had intervened, who is to say what would have happened.'

Mr Leigh claimed that he did not go to the police because he did not want to be considered a 'grass'.

He added: 'If I had known what was to happen I would have helped her out of the house and would have tried to do something to stop what did happen to the poor girl.'

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.