Jury told of Portsmouth axe murderer’s chilling confession: ‘I’ve done Chris’

Christopher Butler
Christopher Butler

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MURDER victim Christopher Butler was struck with an axe by a man who had been at a party smoking a legal high, a court has heard.

Brendon Willis, 33, attacked the 27-year-old in Waverley Road, Southsea, before midnight on New Year’s Eve, before confessing: ‘I’ve done Chris.’

I’ve done him, I’ve put him out of his misery, I’ve hit him with an axe four times

Brendon Willis

Jurors heard how Willis, Mr Butler and others had been smoking Spice at the gathering at 75 Waverley Road, where Willis lived.

Mr Butler was homeless but was living in a shed behind the address, which was a ‘half-way house’, jurors were told.

Robert Forrest, prosecuting, yesterday opened the case against Neal Stacey, 49, who is on trial at Winchester Crown Court accused of cleaning and then concealing the axe in a bath in a back garden at his then home at an annex of 67 Waverley Road.

Mr Forrest told jurors Willis had pleaded guilty to the murder and Stacey was not involved in the murder.

He said Willis confessed to Neil McAvery, who had been at the party, left at 10.30pm and returned at about 11.15pm.

He was told by Willis everyone had gone – including Mr Butler, Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest said: ‘After this the pair sat down on the stairs together and Willis was to say these chilling words to Mr McAvery: “I’ve done Chris.”

‘Mr McAvery at this stage didn’t know what to make of it and he asked Willis what on earth he was on about.

‘Willis replied: ‘I’ve done him, I’ve put him out of his misery, I’ve hit him with an axe four times.’

Mr Forrest added: ‘He was shocked and also at this stage didn’t really believe what he was being told, so as if to prove a point Willis disappeared upstairs, came back shortly afterwards, and from out his jacket produced an item; the item, Mr McAvery said, was an axe.

‘He said that the blade of the axe was covered in blood.’

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr McAvery said he had not believed Willis.

He said: ‘He hit him four times with the sharp end, heard him gurgle, so he spun him round and hit him four times with the blunt end, that’s what he said to me.’

Willis made Mr McAvery promise he would not go in the room for three hours, he said. However, he did go in the room and made a grisly discovery. Mr McAvery added: ‘All I saw first of all was his foot the wrong colour, straight away I knew the boy was dead, from the amount of blood.’

Jurors had been told by Mr Forrest that Mr Butler’s foot was sticking out from under the duvet on the bed and there was blood at the other end.

Mr McAvery shouted ‘there’s been a murder, someone’s killed’ calling for help before a neighbour called 999.

Jurors saw CCTV stills showing meanwhile Stacey was with Yasmin McCue, 24, begging near Kwiki-Mart in Albert Road, Southsea, before Willis approached them with a blue rucksack.

Mr Forrest said Miss McCue saw Willis bend down and whisper to Stacey and when she asked what he said was told that Willis said he killed Mr Butler.

Jurors were shown CCTV stills showing Willis going into the shop before all three left for Stacey’s home, with Stacey carrying the rucksack.

Mr Forrest said Miss McCue said Willis had taken the axe out of the bag and told them he had used the axe.

‘She will say that she saw Stacey wash it,’ Mr Forrest said, adding Miss McCue told Stacey it was ‘stupid’ to do so.

Mr Forrest added Miss McCue said Stacey then took it out to the back garden and hid it in a bath before all three took heroin.

Miss McCue went back to the begging spot at about 1.20am, followed by Stacey at 2.10am, Mr Forrest said.

Willis left the area at about 4am and went to stay with a friend, before leaving on January 3 after he was told to leave and was arrested.

The court heard police searched the bath, which was filled with rubbish and rainwater, on January 1 but did not find the axe until they searched again on January 3.

Stacey had made comments to people, including a police officer, that his fingerprints may have been on the axe as he used it to cut trees.

Forensic analysis of the axe found no fingerprints or DNA.

Stacey was arrested on January 6 and in a prepared statement told police he had not assisted Willis, formerly of Waverley Road. Stacey, also formerly of Waverley Road, denies a charge of perverting the course of justice.

(Proceeding)