Murder suspect Julian Felisi spoke to colleagues about the large quantities of cash carried by his alleged victim Gary Bennett in the days before his death, a court heard.

The jury at St Albans Crown Court heard Felisi, 38, brought up the subject of Mr Bennett's jewellery and his success in betting on horses on the Friday before he was found dead.

The court heard Mr Bennett, 46, was known to carry a large quantity of cash - on occasions in the region of £1,200 - and wore several pieces of gold jewellery, including a chain worth about £1,400.

When his body was found in Aldenham Country Park, on the morning of February 24, he was missing the gold chain, along with his wallet and mobile phone.

He had suffered severe head injuries and the neck chain had been used as a ligature.

Roman Chapman, who worked on the same lorry as Mr Felisi, told the court he saw him lean out of the window and shout at Mr Bennett to telephone him as they arrived back at the depot on Friday, February 19.

Defence barrister Nicholas Rhodes asked Mr Chapman how the conversation about Mr Bennett had arose.

Mr Chapman said: “We were speaking generally, it was chit chat. Julian made reference to the winnings Gary made at the betting shop and the jewellery and chain he wore around his neck.”

The driver of the lorry on which Felisi worked, David Ainsley, was also called as a witness.

The jury was shown CCTV footage from the Wiggenhall Road waste depot, at which Mr Bennett and Felisi both worked, on the morning of the murder.

It showed a man, who the prosecution claim to be Felisi, arriving at the depot in a high-visibility top at 6.04am, four minutes after the lorries were expected to leave.

Mr Ainsley told the court that, on the day of Mr Bennett's death, Felisi was late and met the crew in Park Side Drive, Watford, where they began their route.

He said Felisi was not wearing a high-visibility jacket when he got in the lorry and took one from a cupboard in the driver's cabin.

Mr Ainsley said: “It was size 5XL and when he pulled it out he said 'it must be Gary's' because it was so big. It was only Gary and I that wore a 5XL and it was not mine.”

Mr Rhodes, cross-examining, suggested to Mr Ainsley that he was wrong about the day on which this event occurred.

He pointed to two statements made to the police by Mr Ainsley, one on March 16, and another on April 1.

In the first statement he said he could not remember when it was that Felisi had borrowed the jacket, only that it had happened.

He then, in his statement on April 1, said he was certain it was the day of Mr Bennett's death.

The trial continues.

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