Murder accused Christopher Graham described as 'caring and timid' while court told victim Simon Bowman was 'violent bully'

A man on trial for a brutal murder is caring and timid whereas his victim was a dangerous and violent bully, murder jurors have heard.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 10:22 am

Christopher Graham is accused of killing Simon Bowman, whose finger and toe tips were found "scattered" near his body in his bloodsoaked living room in High Street, Jarrow, in May.

Jurors have heard Mr Bowman, 54, suffered a gruesome catalogue of 100 sites of injury, including 30 to his head and neck, inflicted both before and after he died and caused by more than one weapon.

Graham, of Washington, denies murder and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

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Simon Bowman.

The 30-year-old has told jurors he thought he was about to be killed by Mr Bowman on the night of his death so picked up a "heavy object" to protect himself but remembers little else about what happened.

Amy Nolan has now been in the witness box and said she saw Mr Bowman attack her cousin Graham at a relative’s house in the months before his death.

When asked to describe Graham she said: "He's kind, he's caring, he's considerate, he's shy, timid and he's vulnerable."

Miss Nolan, who said in her statement to police "I'm happy that Bowman is dead", said Graham has had a history of mental health problems and that she saw him being attacked by Mr Bowman.

Police and forensic officers at the scene in High Street, Jarrow.

She told the court: "He was punching Christopher and kicking him.

"Christopher was sitting with his head down and I said to him, 'Why are you doing that to him?'

"He just stopped and glared at me and said 'because I can' and then started laughing."

Miss Nolan said her "blood ran cold" as a result of Mr Bowman's behaviour and added: "He frightened me".

Maxine Horn told jurors she was a victim of Mr Bowman's violence when she saw him at a friend's flat.

She told jurors: "He picked up an ashtray and smashed it off my face and bust my nose and lip."

Miss Horn said Mr Bowman also "bullied" a friend of hers.

She told jurors: "He bulled him, he was nothing but a nasty, horrible man and he bulled him. He used to make him do anything, everything, get him a drink, he would boss him about, he was a bully, a horrible, nasty man."

Trudy Quinn told jurors she knew Mr Bowman had a "reputation to be a very dangerous man" and she saw him slash her ex partner with a knife during a violent incident where she was also under threat with the weapon.

Jamie Nolan told jurors Mr Bowman moved into his home for two to three weeks and he felt "intimidated" by him at a time when he had problems of his own and was vulnerable.

Mr Nolan said he was "best friends" with Graham and when asked if the alleged murderer was violent he said: "Nah, never, ever any violence from him. Never felt threatened by him or anything, never.

"He's a nice person, very nice person, I never felt threatened around him at all."

Nicola Walker told jurors Mr Bowman moved into her home at a time when Graham also lived with her.

She said Mr Bowman was a "violent bully", refused to leave when she asked him to and stabbed her in an attack.

Miss Walker said: "He had got some crack cocaine and was smoking it. Me and Christopher were sitting on the couch. He thought me and Christopher were talking about him, we weren't.

"He went and got a knife, a little knife. He came in and went to stab Christopher.

"I tried to diffuse the situation and got in the way and he stabbed me instead, in my right arm, I've still got the scar."

Frank Williams told jurors Mr Bowman had been staying with a pal of his, who wanted him to leave, so he had gone to speak to him and suggested he rent a flat he knew was available.

He told jurors: "He said nobody was going to kick him out and nobody was going to tell him what to do. He was shouting.

"I tried to talk to him at first, tried to calm him down and that. He was telling me to get out of the flat.

"He ran out with a knife and stabbed me four times in the leg and once in the head."

The trial continues.