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Stabbed nightclub tycoon's son 'had guts to stand up to him'

Published 01/09/2015

David West senior's business empire had run into problems, the court heard
David West senior's business empire had run into problems, the court heard

A nightclub tycoon was stabbed to death by his own son, who then bragged that he "had the guts to stand up to him", a court heard.

David West senior, 70, was described in court as a "drunken bully" who had made millions from the booze cruise trade in Calais before moving on to own a string of venues in the West End of London.

He had a turbulent relationship with his son of the same name who worked for him on-and-off as his entertainment business empire began to crumble, the Old Bailey heard.

On the afternoon of December 12 last year, he sacked his son during a blazing row and David West Junior, 45, resolved to "go out with a bang", jurors were told.

He allegedly downed several glasses of whisky, took a large knife from his flat on Jermyn Street, Piccadilly, and stabbed his father twice as he lay comatose in his home next door.

Afterwards, the defendant, who admits the killing but denies the charge of murder, told police that he "did a favour to a lot of people" and boasted: "I had the guts to stand up to him."

But prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC said: "The problem was that he never could stand up to him and to kill his father whilst his father was slumped at the bottom of the stairs in a drunken stupor, and thus totally defenceless, does not readily resonate with 'having the guts to stand up to him'.

"He took the largest kitchen knife from his flat - provided by his father - and went next door to where his father had been taken by his assistant, and left at the bottom of the stairs as he was too drunken to climb them.

"He then stabbed his father just twice, on each occasion targeting two of the body's most vulnerable areas - first, the neck, and then the upper chest, leaving the knife embedded there."

Before the killing, the defendant had exchanged a series of texts with his girlfriend telling her that "a lot of people need sorting out and it's going to be tonight," adding that he was "going out with a bang".

Immediately afterwards, he was allegedly overheard on the phone telling her: "I've had enough."

Setting out the background to the killing, Mr Jafferjee told jurors: "The problem appears to be that David West senior rightly or wrongly saw his son as someone who was no longer able to match up to the demands of the state of the business.

"The defendant, who was in awe of his father, felt that his efforts were rarely if ever appreciated by his father."

David West Jnr held a "pivotal role" in the Calais business before it folded in 2011 and later moved to Jermyn Street to be near his father, whose health was deteriorating.

Mr Jafferjee told jurors that the victim was a controlling man who saw dependence as "weakness" and went by the code "my money, my rules".

At the time of his death, his business was in serious financial trouble with "large debts" which explained his excessive drinking, the lawyer said.

He said that the defendant does not dispute killing but says he is guilty of manslaughter on the grounds that he had "lost control" because of his father's behaviour.

The court heard that as well as rowing with his father, West was also engaged in a running discussion with his girlfriend Victoria Lockwood in Felixstowe which played out in text messages read out in court.

During the exchange, he told her: "You don't love me. A lot of people need sorting out. And it's going to happen tonight."

Mr West senior's personal assistant used a mobile phone app to record a snippet of the argument between father and son in the bar of the Abracadabra restaurant downstairs from West's flat.

The jury was played an extract in which West junior told his father: "Go f*** yourself. I hope you drink yourself to death you c***." Mr West senior replied: "F*** you."

As she helped her boss back to his home next door, Mr West senior appeared very upset and told her: "This is my son..It's a shame. If I could I'd have hit him."

After the killing, West junior called 999 and told police: "I would like to admit to a murder. I've just killed my father."

He went on to tell the office that he knew what he had done was awful, but reasoned that it was "for a passionate sort of thing".

After his arrest, he told an officer: "I've had a lot of pleasure in what I have done. I'm glad he's dead. The thing is I should have kicked the s**t out of him before I killed him."

The trial continues.

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