Tosh Richardson murder trial: 'Sarah Finnie used Freshney Place security cameras to hide attack'
CCTV cameras on Grimsby's Freshney Place shopping centre were used by a security guard to hunt down homeless man Anthony "Tosh" Richardson before he was fatally attacked, a court has heard. One of the cameras was then allegedly turned away from viewing the scene outside Halifax Bank, when the 45-year-old was attacked, leading to his death shortly afterwards. Husband and wife Marc and Sarah Finnie are accused of murdering Mr Richardson.
Marc Finnie admits he attacked him, but says it wasn't murder. The Finnies are on trial along with Gary Clarke, 36, formerly of Roberts Street, who is said to have helped the couple and denies assisting offenders. Both Sarah Finnie and Clarke were working as security guards at the shopping centre.
Prosecuting barrister Tim Roberts QC told jurors at Sheffield Crown Court that Mr Richardson, who was barred from Freshney Place, had been abusive towards Mrs Finnie and she contacted her husband to punish him.Marc Finnie admits attacking Anthony 'Tosh' Richardson
He said that Sarah Finnie had used the cameras to track Mr Richardson' s movements and alert her husband to the homeless man outside the Halifax Bank. In his opening address to the jury, Mr Roberts QC said: "They wanted the attack to be quick and effective. "They also wanted to escape detection for the crime in prospect.
"They knew only too well about the cameras in the town centre. Marc Finnie had his hood up as he strode across town toward his victim." The prosecutor said Sarah Finnie knew that Camera 68 above the Old Market entrance to Freshney Place was viewing Mr Richardson outside the Halifax Bank.
CCTV operator Daniel Tinmurth was told by her over the radio that there was a suspicious man on Victoria Street precinct and he shifted the view of the camera away from Old Market Place. Mr Roberts said: "Sarah Finnie's interference with the operation of camera 68 provides the critical proof of the intention which she shared with her husband to inflict serious harm on Mr Richardson in swift punishment for his recent behaviour towards her."Sarah Finnie
He said she guided her husband, knowing what he was going to do "to hurt him outside as she had been hurt inside" from the exchange when Mr Richardson was ejected for the second time from Freshney Place. Mr Roberts added: "Marc Finnie was to tell police later that, after hearing what had happened that day, he had decided enough was enough."
He said Mr Finnie had the "advantage of surprise" and first kneed him in the face then used his right fist to punch him twice before walking away to St James' Square leaving Mr Richardson unresponsive and unconscious. He died at Diana, Princess of Wales hospital from the head injury. Mr Roberts said Clarke, who worked alongside Sarah Finnie appeared to be watching the attack on Mr Richardson from the Old Market entrance to Freshney Place.
CCTV footage from Halifax Bank captures him looking down Old Market Place and returning inside the shopping centre when it was over. He joined Sarah Finnie inside. In his statement to police he did not mention seeing Mr Finnie or the redirection of Camera 68 nor that he had seen the assault.Anthony "Tosh" Richardson
Mr Roberts claimed Clarke had deliberately falsified his statements to the police.
The court heard The blows to Mr Richardson's head were so forceful the last punch 'propelled' his head against the concrete pavement where he had settled in a sleeping bag outside the Halifax Bank in Old Market Place Grimsby at 4pm on January 15. Mr Richardson was barred from Freshney Place but on that day, he made repeated attempts to gain entry. One of them was through the multi-storey car park.
But he was ejected each time, the jury was told. After being ejected for the final time, he was said to have made 'rude remarks and gestures' towards Sarah Finnie. The pair had known each other for 10 years and Mr Richardson had previously issued threats towards her and had accused her of being a heroin addict.
Mr Roberts said: "She was called a murderer which related to the death of a mutual friend who died from a heroin overdose." The jury was told Mr Richardson had taunted Mrs Finnie outside the shopping centre about her personal life.Flowers left outside the Halifax in memory of Anthony "Tosh" Richardson
Mr Roberts said: "She (Sarah Finnie) found herself more sensitive to Mr Richardson's habitual abuse. She called Marc Finnie to tell him about the abuse.
"She knew her husband's personality and she wanted him to come down to physically confront Mr Richardson." He told the jury: "The man responsible for killing Mr Richardson is Marc Finnie. He admits it was him that was the attacker and the attack was unlawful and unnecessary.
The issue you will decide is whether Mr Finnie is guilty of murder or guilty only of manslaughter as he suggests. "Sarah Finnie wanted her husband to punish Mr Richardson swiftly for what he had said and done to her that day," said Mr Roberts. The jury of five men and seven women were shown maps of Freshney Place including the locations of security cameras and colour-coded charts detailing the timings of communications on phones and screen shots of security guards Sarah Finnie and Gary Clarke with Mr Richardson.
They are a composite of the phone calls made by defendants seen also on CCTV.
Today the trial will see the attack captured on Halifax Bank CCTV cameras and hear evidence from Home Office pathologist Dr Kirsten Hope about the injuries sustained by Mr Richardson.
Mr Justice Goss is presiding at the trial at Sheffield, which is expected to last two weeks.