Gosport murderer wept as he confessed to best friend of killing he regretted

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A Gosport murderer wept as he confessed to killing Levi Kent to his best friend after turning up at his door, a court heard.

Tommy West, 18, cried while hugging his best friend Rowan Ballard after revealing he had killed Levi, but said he “didn’t know why” he did it. The killer told his friend: “I won’t see you for a while. I’ve done something stupid. I might have killed someone.”

Tommy West and his brother Aiden West, 24, were seen running after Levi to rob him of cocaine after he was lured to shops behind Nobes Avenue a short time after 2am on November 24 having refused to defer payment on a deal, the court previously heard. 

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The victim was stabbed in his Vauxhall Corsa before attempting to escape and crashing his car into a wall and garages. Levi was then chased into Keyes Road before he was attacked again. The brothers fled to Dundas House in James Close following the murder before then turning up at Liam Savage’s address at Harbour Tower in Trinity Green. 

Tommy West, of Fisgard Road, Gosport, has admitted murder, robbery and possession of a blade. His half-brother Aiden West, of Tudor Close, Gosport, denies murder and possession of a blade.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Aiden West and Tommy West knocked on Mr Ballard’s door during the daytime of November 24. In his video interview to police, Mr Ballard recalled how he and the West brothers went out the evening before and got “drunk” after buying a crate of beer. 

The brothers went on to get some vodka and were described by the witness as “drinking more than me”. Mr Ballard said he went home around 10pm while the West brothers continued with their night out as they caught a taxi to the Bridgemary area of Gosport. 

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The next time he saw the West brothers was during the next day when they turned up at his door en route to Tommy West handing himself in to police, Mr Ballard said. “(Tommy West) was crying and saying he thinks he killed someone because he had seen it on the news. I didn’t say a lot apart from you’re an idiot. He just kept crying and hugging me saying he killed someone,” the witness said.

Mr Ballard said it “broke me to see him like that” and that he (Mr Ballard) “didn’t want to talk about (the murder) and see him crying”. Tommy West was “apologising because he had thrown his life away” and saying he “didn’t know why he did it (the murder)”, he said.

The witness said Tommy West “knows he messed up” before adding: “He made a gigantic life changing mistake. I try not to think about it too much. I don’t want to think of him as a murderer. He’s my best mate.”

During the exchange, Tommy West’s dad Peter West arrived at the property while “on the verge of crying”. “We were just saying that it’s sad he has thrown his life away over something stupid,” Mr Ballard said. Tommy, Aiden and Peter West then left in a car.

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Asked what Tommy West was like as a person during the interview, Mr Ballard said: “I think he is a great person. I love him to pieces. He’s quite compassionate and would ask if I’m alright. He is a good person.

“I feel like he has issues…something definitely isn’t right in his head. He doesn’t think about things right. He doesn't process things well.”

Mr Ballard said Tommy West was “not a druggie” and would only take drugs if “others were doing it” or at parties.

Meanwhile, Mr Ballard’s mother Louise Ballard gave a statement to police recounting how the three West men had arrived at her address. She said of Tommy West: “Rowan and Tommy know each other from going to the same school. Tommy has chosen a path that is unacceptable whereas Rowan chose a career in the Armed Forces.”

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Ms Ballard recalled hearing Tommy West tell her son: “I won’t see you for a while. I’ve done something stupid. I might have killed someone.”

Ms Ballard said Tommy West was always “melodramatic” and she was “not surprised” he had done something stupid. “I told him to hand himself in,” she added.

Tommy West then went to another friend’s house late in the afternoon after arriving in a vehicle to say goodbye, the court was told.

Tommy West later handed himself in at Portsmouth police station while accompanied by Peter West.

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The case also includes other people who have admitted offences or been charged. Peter West, 42, of Fisgard Road, and Michael Figgins, 64, of St Ann's Crescent, are also on trial, with each charged with two counts of assisting an offender.

Other people in the matter include the brothers’ mother Joanne West, 45, of no fixed address, who has admitted two counts of assisting an offender. Liam Savage, 37, of Trinity Green in Gosport, has also admitted two counts of assisting an offender.

Sarah Flynn, 36, of James Close in Gosport, was charged with two counts of assisting an offender. 

(Proceeding)

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