Belfast Telegraph

Killer brothers made Belfast victim crawl around his home apologising

By Michael Donnelly

An east Belfast man who was savagely beaten and left to die at the bottom of a flight of stairs by two brothers was forced to crawl around his house on all fours apologising, a court has heard.

James and William Turner launched a horrific assault on 41-year-old Matthew Goddard in his Chobham Street home on the evening of December 23, 2014. Both brothers pleaded guilty to Mr Goddard's murder.

It is alleged the victim was attacked because of a comment he made about James Turner being "a sandwich short of a picnic".

A co-accused - Christian Walker of Ribble Street in Belfast - was present during the attack but was not involved.

Walker has since admitted two counts of perverting the course of justice by providing a false alibi for the Turner brothers.

William Turner, from Glenlea Grove, and his 30-year-old brother, of Dunraven Court, also in east Belfast, will be sentenced along with Walker next week.

At a pre-sentencing hearing yesterday, Crown prosecutor Ciaran Murphy QC told Belfast Crown Court that Mr Goddard "died an unnatural death following a brutal assault".

He added there was a suggestion that Mr Goddard - who was bludgeoned with his own guitar - was still alive when his attackers left him "in an appalling state at the foot of his stairs".

Mr Murphy said that Mr Goddard was last seen alive at around 8.30pm on December 23, although a neighbour reported hearing raised voices and arguing some hours later. He told a friend of Mr Goddard who called to the house.

The friend looked through the letterbox and saw a lifeless body at the bottom of the stairs.

When the emergency services arrived, blood splatters and stains were present in a number of areas.

The court heard that Mr Goddard was initially attacked in his living room, and that during the assault he had his head banged off a radiator, and was forced to crawl whilst apologising about the comment he made about James Turner.

The brothers also took turns stamping on their victim's head as he lay at the bottom of the stairs and a 'zig-zag' pattern from the sole of a shoe - later linked to James Turner - was present behind his left ear.

Mr Murphy said a post mortem concluded that Mr Goddard died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

William Turner initially denied involvement - but during his 17th interview, he said he had assaulted and murdered Mr Goddard and that his two co-accused played no part in the attack.

James Turner - who has 85 previous convictions including offences for violence - also denied the involvement at first, but later admitted his guilt.

When they are sentenced next week, the brothers will find out how long they must serve before being considered for release.

Belfast Telegraph

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