Big issue seller denies murder

BIG Issue seller Paul Dwyer had a frightening and controlling affect over his girlfriend, a murder trial at Norwich Crown Court heard.On the second day of the trial of Dwyer, a 31-year-old heroin addict accused of stabbing to death his 19-year-old drug dealer Peter Brown, Dwyer's on-off girlfriend Tara Smith admitted he had gradually ruined her life.

BIG Issue seller Paul Dwyer had a frightening and controlling affect over his girlfriend, a murder trial at Norwich Crown Court heard.

On the second day of the trial of Dwyer, a 31-year-old heroin addict accused of stabbing to death his 19-year-old drug dealer Peter Brown, Dwyer's on-off girlfriend Tara Smith admitted he had gradually ruined her life.

Dwyer denies murdering Mr Brown.

Miss Smith, who had earlier told the court that her flat resembled a horror movie after Dwyer and Brown had been involved in the fatal tussle nine months ago, told the jury that the whole incident had left her in a hysterical state.

"I was in shock and it was completely overwhelming. I can't say what went on in the flat, all I know is that I heard strange noises – I didn't know he (Brown) was dead.

"Everytime I close my eyes I saw blood. It was horrific that something like that had happened in my flat and I didn't know why.

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Miss Smith told defence lawyer David Cocks QC, during cross-examination that Dwyer had slowly worn her down during their relationship.

"He took my confidence and my friends. He controlled everything I did or said over a two-and-a-half year period. I was frightened of him."

Miss Smith referred to Dwyer by the alias 'Stuart' and another prosecution witness, Christopher Cassidy, said he knew him by the same name.

Mr Cassidy, who now lives in Devon, said he had befriended Dwyer, who at the time had a beard and red dreadlocks, after buying the Big Issue from him in Ipswich.

Mr Cassidy was shown three knives by the prosecution, which were exhibits of possible weapons used to stab Brown.

He said he recognised one of them as his own, telling the court it was a sheath knife he had purchased in the Cotswolds when he was 15.

Mr Cassidy said he got to know Dwyer fairly well and they enjoyed "pleasant chit-chat". He added that Dwyer and his girlfriend stayed at his house in Suffolk Road, Ipswich for two weeks before he kicked them out

He said he was unaware that Dwyer had taken the knife during the time he stayed at his home until a policeman told him so during an interview in Devon.

The jury of seven women and five men also learned more about the relationship between Dwyer and Brown, with witness statements read out in court depicting them as members of a group of acquaintances heavily reliant on heroin.

Brown was depicted as a friendly and likeable drug seller who would meet up with his clients at short notice, while Dwyer was depicted as an elusive character who had been on and off heroin for years.

Several witness statements were read out by the prosecution, all of them from heroin users like Dwyer and some of them from fellow Big Issue sellers.

All the witnesses said they were given free samples of heroin by 'Andy' (an alias used by Brown) and told to call him on his mobile if they needed more. All the witness statements agreed that 'Andy' kept his heroin stash behind a panel in his white Vauxhall Cavalier and that heroin could often be purchased from 'Andy' behind the Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.

Many of the witness statements also painted a picture of 'Andy' as an easy-going man who never pressured his clients into paying and wouldn't mind if they ran up small debts.

On the day of his death, a number of heroin users said they had tried to call 'Andy' for a fix in the late morning but his phone was switched off.

One witness statement told of a phone conversation with 'Andy' at 9.30am on the morning of his death. The witness was told to call back twenty minutes after the initial conversation but when they had done so, there was no answer.

It is alleged that Dwyer stabbed Brown 18 times in the neck after an argument that morning.

The trial continues.

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