A MAN who was part of a ferocious group attack on a vulnerable victim in a dark alleyway made a “cowardly” decision when he chose not to give evidence at his murder trial, a court has been told.
Shae Nicholson (20) is on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of murdering Jerry Appicella (51) near the Go Local shop on Hickleton Street, Denaby, in 2019.
The jury has heard evidence from two other defendants in the trial, but Nicholson, of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main, has chosen to stay silent.
Addressing the jury today (Monday), Mr John Harrison, prosecuting, said of Nicholson: “What conclusion can you draw from his failure to give evidence?
“We suggest there is only one — he has no explanation to give and no way to answer the prosecution case.
“You may think his decision was cowardly, reflecting the cowardice on his part in his attack on the vulnerable Mr Appicella.”
Nicholson, who has admitted manslaughter but denies murder, is on trial alongside Martell Brown (24), of Colliery Road, Conisbrough; Kian Gerrard (19), of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main and a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Mr Harrison said he would have liked to have asked Gerrard — who also declined to give evidence — why the group had waited outside Go Local until Mr Appicella had left the shop.
“It seems so obvious that there is a plan when you think about this bit of evidence,” he said.
“It’s such an obvious piece of evidence that maybe Gerrard knew he did not have an answer to it.”
Mr Harrison said Brown had “tied himself up in knots” by telling lies in the witness box, while the youth had told jurors he could not remember events when his lies had been exposed.
Mr Appicella had been a vulnerable man who, at the time of the attack, had recently suffered a stroke, Mr Harrison said.
“He was subjected to a cowardly and vicious attack,” he said.
Mr Harrison said all four defendants had either caused or inflicted the 28 injuries found on Mr Appicella’s body.
“They did so by hitting, punching, kicking or stamping, and they caused Mr Appicella’s death in the hours or days that followed," he said.
Mr Appicella’s body was found in his flat on December 15 — 12 days after the attack.
Mr Harrison told jurors they could convict the defendants of murder if they were sure that they either had attacked Mr Appicella with the intention to cause him serious harm, or if they were sure that the defendants had intentionally assisted or encouraged the attack.
He said there was clear evidence that Nicholson had directly attacked Mr Appicella, and that the 15-year-old youth had attacked him with a pole while Mr Appicella had been on the ground.
Brown punched Mr Appicella while he was on the ground while Gerrard was a “secondary party” who had encouraged and assisted the attackers, Mr Harrison said, adding: "“The injuries caused to Mr Appicella were mainly to the head, and were caused by what the CCTV shows to be a ferocious attack.
“We suggest that the ferocity of the attack and the fact it was directed to the head shows the purpose of the attack was to cause really serious harm.”
Gerrard, Brown and the youth deny murder.
The trial continues.