Murder accused Christopher Graham from Washington said he feared he could be raped and killed by his alleged victim Simon Bowman from Jarrow

A man on trial for murder has told jurors he feared he was about to be raped and killed by his alleged victim.
Simon Bowman.Simon Bowman.
Simon Bowman.

Christopher Graham is accused of killing Simon Bowman, whose finger and toe tips were found "scattered" near his body in his bloodsoaked living room in High Street, Jarrow, in May.

Jurors have heard Mr Bowman, 54, suffered a gruesome catalogue of 100 sites of injury, including 30 to his head and neck, inflicted both before and after he died and caused by more than one weapon.

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Graham, of Washington, denies murder and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Police and forensic officers at the scene in High Street, JarrowPolice and forensic officers at the scene in High Street, Jarrow
Police and forensic officers at the scene in High Street, Jarrow

Jurors heard yesterday that the 30-year-old would not give evidence in his own defence.

But today, his barrister Paul Greaney QC said Graham "has changed his mind" and would go into the witness box.

Mr Greaney told jurors Mr Bowman's injuries were "shocking and disturbing" but have asked that they keep an open mind while considering the facts.

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He said the "critical question" was whether the initial, fatal blows inflicted on Mr Bowman were carried out in self defence, before the "bizarre", "grotesque" and "distressing" injuries that occurred, while he was dead or dying.

Mr Greaney said Graham is not a "homicidal maniac" but an "unusual person" who has "quite substantial limitations" and has no history of violence.

But Mr Greaney said Mr Bowman was a "vicious bully" and a "violent manipulator" who had sought to control and manipulate Graham into robbing a post office.

Mr Greaney added: "Simon Bowman attacked the defendant in a way that made it clear to the defendant he was about to be raped.

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"What's more, Simon Bowman had a knife and stabbed him in the arm in order to force his compliance."

Mr Greaney said there was a "darker side" to the friendship between the two men and Mr Bowman had sought to "dominate and abuse" Graham, as he had done with others.

He added: "Only a high level of violence was going to provide protection to the defendant on that occasion."

From the witness box, Graham told jurors he had been in the kitchen of Bowman's flat having a sandwich and was attacked by him when he walked back to the living room.

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Graham said: "He stabbed me with a knife in the arm, my left arm, left shoulder."

Mr Greaney asked Graham what he thought was about to happen and he said: "I thought I was going to be killed".

Graham added: "I thought I was going to be raped.

"I picked up an object, heavy object.

"To protect myself."

Graham said he did not know what happened next and when asked what he remembered he replied: "Just waking up, coming back around and there was blood all over the floor. I picked my bags up and left."

The trial continues.