Murder trial told accused confessed to cell mate

Lee Duncan. Picture: Comp
Lee Duncan. Picture: Comp
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A DRUG addict accused of murdering his friend confessed to a cell mate after being arrested over the killing, a court has heard.

Gary Parker made the alleged confession 16 months after the body of Lee Duncan was discovered in the bedroom of his Tollcross flat.

Fellow prisoner Gordon Wilson was in the cells at Edinburgh Sheriff Court with 45-year-old Parker and informed the court: “He told me he killed the boy for drugs.”

Wilson said that Parker admitted a “bit of a frenzied attack” on Mr Duncan, repeatedly hitting him with a hammer before stealing his drug stash.

The alleged admission was highlighted as the “most important” piece of evidence against Parker by advocate depute Andrew Stewart QC as he summed up the Crown’s case at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

Mr Stewart told the jury if they did not believe Wilson’s testimony over the confession then they should acquit.

Wilson previously gave evidence that Parker was in a cell with him on June 25 last year following his arrest for 31-year-old Mr Duncan’s murder.

He asked Parker what he was “in for”, and was taken aback when the accused told him “murder” and added that he was guilty.

Wilson said Parker told him that he had gone to Mr Duncan’s Lauriston Place flat to buy heroin on “tick”, pledging to settle when he was paid.

Parker allegedly told him that Mr Duncan only had a small amount, explaining that he struck the victim with a hammer kept in the flat for security then “went into a bit of a frenzied attack and kept smashing his head”.

Wilson told the jury that Parker said he was wearing overalls which he put in a bag and later disposed of.

Wilson said he was wary of being a high court “grass”, but the murder had “disgusted” him and he felt compelled to report the conversation.

During his summing up, Mr Stewart said that the Crown contended that Mr Duncan was murdered between 9.53pm on February 24, 2011, when he contacted his girlfriend Kirsty Nelson by phone, and 11.48pm when a man identified by police as Parker was caught on CCTV walking away from Lauriston Place carrying a bag.

Urging the jury to return a guilty verdict, Mr Stewart added that blood from Mr Duncan was found on the tread of Parker’s new boots, and his fingerprint was recovered from a plastic box in the victim’s bedroom which police believed was moved after the murder.

Defence counsel Derek Ogg QC said that Parker would have to have been a “criminal mastermind” to evade arrest for so long while a “drug addict”.

In his summing up, Mr Ogg said that Parker voluntarily gave evidence to police for 12 hours, and had no record of violence in the 20 years since an assault conviction.

The defence alleges that two other men, John Dowling and Kevin Grieve, were responsible for the murder. Both men denied they were involved.

Parker, who was living in the same block of flats as Mr Duncan at the time of his death, denies murder.

The trial continues.