Murder trial latest: Family talk

The scene following the murder last year
The scene following the murder last year

A jury trying four men accused of murdering another drug user at a flat in Scarborough heard how the victim’s life was affected by his drug taking.

Julie Anderson, the sister of Jonathan Binns described in a statement read at Leeds Crown Court today that he was the youngest of five children.

A quiet boy he was popular at school because of his ready wit and joined the family firm in West Yorkshire with his older brother allowing his father to go into semi-retirement in the Scarborough area.

At that time in the 1980s she said Jonathan had a long-term girlfriend to whom he eventually became engaged, was a keen sportsman, excellent skier and loved rave music going to clubs such as the Hacienda in Manchester.

He was a drinker and had started smoking cigarettes “and eventually it became a worry to the family that he was not just smoking cigarettes.”

She said they became increasingly concerned about his health while he blamed “the stresses of running a business alongside burning the candle at both ends.”

But when his work began to suffer it was clear he had more of a problem than he wished them to know. He also lost some friends to drug overdoses around the same time.

A crisis was reached when he split from his fiancée and then had a breakdown. He was in hospital for a time and afterwards went to stay with their father and stepmother to aid his recovery.

When he appeared better and returned to work he relapsed again and it was then he went onto a methadone programme.

Having returned to Scarborough it took him some years to recover fully but he found work in a home for the elderly and began sport again only to injury a knee badly playing football.

After that her brother did a course in manufacturing engineering at the Yorkshire Coast College where he was awarded student of the year and gained a triple grade distinction ending his studies in June 2006.

He appeared to be regaining his confidence and his health and got work with a firm in Scarborough. The family believed he was back to his “witty self” by the time of his 40th birthday and seemed to put “his demons behind him” when she last spoke to him in July.

The jury has heard on August 7 Mr Binns bled to death at a friend’s flat in Eastborough after he was stabbed in the leg by Kevin Pickering during a robbery to steal drugs from him, Mr Binns having used some heroin.

The prosecution claim Pickering was involved with three other men. Pickering, 30 of Royal Crescent, Scarborough denies the murder of Mr Binns but has admitted his manslaughter and robbery.

David White 34 of Queens Terrace, Scarborough denies murder or the alternative manslaughter but has admitted robbery.

Jim Cousins, 31 of Woodlands Place, Manchester and Nicholas Polihronos, 31 of Stoney Haggs Rise, Seamer, Scarborough each deny murder, the alternative manslaughter and robbery. The trial is expected to last four weeks.