Lincolnshire

Warren Free murder trial judge to accept majority verdict

Warren Free Image copyright Police issue
Image caption Father-of-two Warren Free, 42, had lived in Spalding for eight years

The judge in the case of six teenagers accused of murdering a man in an attack has said he will accept a majority verdict from the jury.

Warren Free, 42, died after being found with head injuries at his home in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in August 2014.

Jake Edwards, 18, from Spalding, along with two 15-year-old boys, another boy aged 17 and two 15-year-old girls - who cannot be named - all deny murder.

The Lincoln Crown Court jury began deliberating last Thursday.

One of the boys also denies a charge of perverting the course of justice relating to the disposal of a metal pole. The 17-year-old has already admitted a charge of perverting the course of justice.

'Vicious assault'

None of the defendants gave evidence during the four-week trial.

It is alleged Mr Free was attacked following an argument outside his home during which his fence was knocked down and items were thrown.

The 42-year-old had then confronted the youths in a nearby park.

The prosecution claim he was knocked to the ground and subjected to a "vicious assault", during which one of the girls hit him with a metal pole.

It was argued that all six defendants were involved in the attack and are jointly responsible for Mr Free's death.

Following the attack Mr Free returned home, but died later from his injuries.

Defence lawyers argued the accused acted either in self defence or defending others in the group, while others were innocent bystanders.

During the defence's summing up, lawyers reminded the jury that pathologists who examined Mr Free's body were unable to determine exactly how and when he sustained the fatal blow to his head.

They said it could have been caused by a punch or kick, or from falling to the ground and hitting his head.

A post-mortem examination found he had multiple cuts and bruises and had suffered a brain injury.

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