An argument over a £400 drug debt led to a violent attack by two men in Falmouth that left their victim dying in a pool of blood, after he was told by one of them on the phone: “I will kill for my family” – a court has heard.
Kane Coggin, aged 27, of Meadowbank, Mylor Bridge and Liam Bastow, aged 24, of Avalon Close, Mylor Bridge, appeared at Truro Crown Court this morning at the start of their trial charged with the murder of Aaron Pill.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Pill at his home in Tresawles Road, Falmouth, on May 4 this year.
They have pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, but the Crown Prosecution Service has opted to pursue a trial on the more serious charges, with the jury having to decide if there was intent to kill or not.
Opening for the prosecution, Mr Adam Feest QC, told the jury that Mr Pill was killed over a drug debt of £400 belonging to Coggin.
During a “heated” telephone conversation with Bastow on the afternoon of his death, Mr Pill that he would be sending his mates round to the secure the value of the debt owed for cannabis.
“In response to that,” Mr Feest told the jury, “he was told ‘I will kill for my family’.”
After the conversation, Mr Pill went round to his mother’s house, where he told her what had been said and what he had said.
The conversation was recorded on CCTV installed at his mother’s house, which was played to the jury.
The jury was told that the attack on Mr Pill himself was also recorded on CCTV cameras that Mr Pill had installed at this home in Tresawles Road. The cameras were placed on the front door and at the top of the stairs.
“It clearly showed both defendants coming to the front door together and jointly attacking him,” said Mr Feest.
“He suffered a single stab wound to the abdomen that cut his main blood vessel. “This led to immediate massive bleeding that led to a rapid loss of consciousness and then death.”
Mr Feest said it was a 20 second violent attack on Mr Pill. Both men punching and kicking Mr Pill. “It is clear from the video the amount of violence used,” he said.
“Mr Pill could be heard shouting ‘I have been stabbed’ and was, in his own words, ‘bleeding out’,” said Mr Feest.
He said blood stains were visible on Coggin’s hand and an area of his right arm was covered in blood.
“It must have been obvious that Mr Pill was seriously injured,” said Mr Feast. “But they left the house without any attempt to help him.”
The pair ran off and Coggin hid the knife in a nearby postbox, the court was told.
He also hid clothing in a dog waste bin which, the jury was told, was later retrieved by him.
Mr James told the jury: “Both the defendants are responsible for the death of Aaron Pill.
“Both have recognised this by pleading guilty to manslaughter. Mr Coggin accepts having the knife, having taken it with him to scare him [Mr Pill].
“He accepts inflicting the knife wound, but says it was in the struggle.”
Mr James said the attack was part of a plan to rob Mr Pill, but that Bastow claimed he did not know that Coggin had a knife or was aware that there was ever a plan to cause Mr Pill serious injury.
The body of Mr Pill was eventually found by his younger brother a few hours later on My 4, lying in a pool of blood at the foot of the stairs.
Emergency services were called and tried to resuscitate him, but by then Mr Pill was already dead, being officially declared deceased in the early hours of May 5.
The trial continues.