Bushey man Paul Simons' stab wounds could have been 'ritualistic', court hears

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Alleged Bushey murder victim Paul Simons, who was stabbed to death by a gay escort in an Essex flat, used the name Busted55 on a gay contact website, an Essex court was told this week.

Single man Mr Simons, 54, of Prospect Close, an antique dealer whose marriage had ended some years before, was killed by hospital cleaner and gay escort Michael Brennan when he drove to Chelmsford for sex on May 3 this year.

Brennan, now 23, of The Green, Melbourne, Chelmsford, denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

During the hearing the killing has been described by prosecutor Andrew Jackson as "a brutal and efficient execution".

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that Mr Simons had filled in a questionnaire on a gay website.

He used the name Busted55 and said he was looking for "slim and smooth guys", DC Mitch Maguire told the jury.

Mr Simons, who was 6ft tall and weighed 15-stone described himself as "versatile" but entered "no" to a question about whether he was into sado-masochistic sex.

The court was told that Busted55's profile included: "Friendly bloke looking for slim and smooth guys, don't mind younger or inexperienced, looking for day time meets in London. If you are up for a meet please get back to it."

There was no trace of alcohol or drugs in Mr Simons' blood, the court heard, but the court has been told it was a possibility that Brennan had taken cannabis prior to the killing.

The jury also heard that during the night before Brennan killed Mr Simons, he several times watched films titled The House of 1,000 Corpses, and The Devil's Rejects. He also Google-searched for horror stories based on true stories.

Agreed medical evidence read to the jury revealed that Brennan "came out" as a homosexual when he was 14 and had been bullied. During his childhood, from the age of six, he was recorded as mentally disturbed, anxious, self-harming and suicidal. He was referred to a psychiatrist and given anti-depressants.

In his last visit to a doctor on April 16 this year he was said to have had "increasing anxiety and depression" and was signed off work again.

In August this year, Brennan alleged he had been sexually abused from the age of six to 14. Police are currently investigating those allegations, the court heard.

Cross-examined by defence barrister Sarah Forshaw QC, DC Maguire said police recovered from Brennan's mother's house notebooks and documents, which included writings and diagrams from before the killing. They referred among other things to Satan, demons and a spell.

His mother Angela Brennan also handed over a letter written recently by her son which talked about how he had to go away and in which he had said: "I need to live my life and be who I am or I will kill myself".

Earlier the court heard evidence from Brennan’s boyfriend, who was away in Paris when the killing took place.

The prosecution claim that Brennan had deliberately planned to kill Mr Simons and alleges he had stashed knives and hammers around the flat and left notes on a pad and on a computer about what he intended to do.

In his evidence, Brennan's boyfriend, Mr Budge, told the court that his relationship with Brennan began in November 2012 and he said Brennan liked "more risky" sex than he did, such as using handcuffs and a vibrator.

He told the court that when he left his flat it was "spotless".

However, the jury was told that a large number of comments and hieroglyphic writing were found on various walls and on the outside of the bedroom door, where Mr Simons' body was found by police at 12.30am on May 4, was written "call 999 don't enter".

Written on one wall were said to be the words: "If someone needs to be killed, you kill them, that's the way, right?"

Questions have also been asked during the hearing as to whether the killing could have been a ritualistic one.

Forensic pathologist Dr Nathanial Carey told the jury the fatal wound was a stab which penetrated Mr Simons' heart and caused a "ferocious" loss of blood.

There was a second stab wound to the front chest and a blow to the back of his head with a hammer.

In addition there were a total of 22 stab wounds to his back, caused while he was lying face down on the floor "either when dying or just dead".

He added that the superficial score marks, done with a saw blade from his buttocks to the nape of his neck, showed a measure of control "drawn across the skin quite slowly and steadily to limit penetration by the blade".

Defence counsel Sarah Forshaw QC asked Dr Carey in cross-examination about the two long scoring marks down the back.

"Is it possible they might appear almost as if some other purpose to them rather than to incapacitate?"

The witness replied: "Yes."

"Almost ritualistic?" she asked.

Dr Carey replied: "That might be seen. I'm not saying it was an example of that because most of the wounds are stab wounds."

The trial continues.

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