Joe Pooley was ‘on edge’ last time he saw close friend, court hears
A close friend of a 22-year-old man whose body was found in a Suffolk river said he was “on edge” the last time he saw him, a court heard.
Joe Pooley’s body was found in the River Gipping in Ipswich on August 13, 2018, and a post-mortem examination revealed his death was as a result of immersion in water.
Giving evidence from the witness box at Ipswich Crown Court, Connor Last said he had known Mr Pooley for about six or seven years and regarded him as “a little brother”.
Mr Last told the jury he regularly saw Mr Pooley around three or four times a week and described him as a “sound lad”.
Mr Last said the last time he saw Mr Pooley was around August 5 or 6, and was asked by prosecutor Christopher Paxton QC how he seemed at that time.
“He was on edge, like he was looking over his shoulder. I asked him what was up but he would not say,” Mr Last replied.
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The court heard the pair would sometimes go swimming together in the river and jump off the Bramford Bridge.
Asked about his competency in the water, Mr Last described Mr Pooley as a “strong swimmer”.
Mr Last also told the jury that Mr Pooley was “not a drinker” and did not touch alcohol.
Mr Paxton previously told the jury that the location where his body was found was in a part of the river where there was no real flow that could cause a swimmer difficulty.
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Before the court are Sean Palmer, 30, of South Market Road, Great Yarmouth, Sebastian Smith, 35, of no fixed address, Becki West-Davidson, 30, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, and Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Hawick, Roxburghshire.
They have all denied murdering Mr Pooley on or before August 7, 2018.
Mr Paxton has alleged that West-Davidson, who had a sexual relationship with Mr Pooley, had been angry with Mr Pooley over comments he was said to have made about her and Lisa-Marie Smith and had “stoked up hostility towards him”.
He claimed that Sebastian Smith and Palmer had attacked Mr Pooley and thrown his body in the River Gipping after Sebastian Smith’s then girlfriend, Lisa-Marie Smith, lured Mr Pooley from his address at the Kingsley House Hotel, in London Road, knowing he was going to be attacked, or at the very least “given a serious beating.”
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