Sunderland schoolboy killer will not give evidence in murder trial

Steven Grieveson at the time of his trial at Leeds Crown Court in February 1996
Steven Grieveson at the time of his trial at Leeds Crown Court in February 1996
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SERIAL killer Steven Grieveson will not be called to the witness box to give evidence during his trial for the murder of a schoolboy.

The quadruple killer has admitted he caused the death of 14-year-old Simon Martin in 1990, but will tell jurors, through expert evidence, that he was suffering an “abnormality of mind” at the time and is not guilty of murder.

Simon’s body was found in an abandoned house in Roker, Sunderland, a week after he went missing 23 years ago.

During interviews with detectives last year Grieveson, who is serving three life sentences, accepted he was responsible for Simon’s death and said the fact had “haunted” him since.

He is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court where he denies Simon’s murder.

Robert Smith QC, defending, told the court yesterday Grieveson, who was convicted after a trial in 1996 for the murders of David Hanson, 15, Thomas Kelly, 18, and David Grieff, 15, will not give evidence himself.

Mr Smith said a consultant clinical forensic psychologist and a consultant forensic psychiatrist will travel from London to give evidence at the trial about Grieveson having an abnormality of mind that substantially reduced his responsibility for Simon’s killing.

The two experts will give their evidence at the trial today and jurors will hear from a third expert, called by the prosecution.

Mr Smith said jurors must put emotion aside when considering the case, despite the horrors of what they have heard during the trial.

Mr Smith said: “The circumstances of this case involve, do they not, the killing of a young boy, in terrible circumstances, and also involves the consideration of the killing of three other boys in equally appalling circumstances.

“This is not, however, a case in which moral judgment is to be passed.

“It is one in which you are invited to make a judgment on the facts of the case, uninfluenced by any understandable emotion you may feel.

“We invite you to keep an open mind on the issue of guilty or otherwise of murder until the conclusion of the evidence, counsel’s speeches and judge’s summing up in this case.”

Mr Smith told jurors there is “no dispute that Steven Grieveson killed Simon Martin but that diminished responsibility is a “partial defence” to the offence of murder that can be considered by the jury.

He added: “If you reject the partial defence then the result, inevitably, will be that the verdict you return will be one of guilty of murder.”

Mr Smith said it lies with the defence to prove “on the balance of probability” that diminished responsibility is established.

Trial judge Mr Justice Ramsey asked if Grieveson had been advised that jurors may “draw such inferences as appear proper” from him not giving evidence and Mr Smith confirmed he had been.

l Proceeding