Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Court Hears Claims of Abuse Cover-Up

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Court Hears Claims of Abuse Cover-Up

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter rob.kennedy@ncjmedia.co.uk @ChronicleCourt

VULNERABLE Lee Irving "died slowly" and was likely to have been "in very severe pain" during a shocking campaign of violence, a court heard.

James Wheatley and Barry Imray are alleged to have murdered the 24-year-old former Percy Hedley pupil, who had learning difficulties, in at least two "merciless" attacks.

Lee's body was found close to the A1 near Kingston Park, Newcastle, in June 2015 after Imray took it there in a pushchair and dumped it.

Wheatley's then partner, Nicole Lawrence, and his mother, Julie Mills, are accused of causing or allowing Lee's death and helping to try to cover up the killing at the house where they were all staying on Studdon Walk, Kenton Bar.

On the second day of the trial at Newcastle Crown Court, prosecutor Robert Smith QC told jurors: "Nicole Lawrence telephoned her sister and she said Lee was dead. She said Lee died slowly.

"She said James Wheatley and Barry Imray had been dragging Lee about because he kept collapsing and they were kicking him and telling him to get up because he was acting. She said she told them to stop.

"She said on June 4 she got there and Lee was all right but had bruises.

"She said a ring Wheatley had been wearing had caused a big hole on the bridge of Lee's nose.

She and the defendants nothing to obtain help for Robert Smith "She said his cheekbone looked broken and swollen and Julie Mills had given him morphine and Lee had been begging for a line of Ritalin and they had been telling him to beg more."

Mr Smith said jurors must not use the account of Lawrence's alleged conversation with her sister against any of the defendants but her.

In the early hours of June 6, Lawrence said she had gone to bed and claimed Lee was downstairs.

Mr Smith said: "She said his breathing was noisy and he was making a rasping noise.

"She said Barry Imray ran upstairs and said he had stopped breathing and was dead. …

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