Murder trial jury considers verdict

22 Jul 2003
BBC News

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering his teenage stepdaughter is due to resume its deliberations.

Jurors in the trial of Mike Baldwin, accused of murdering 15-year-old Jenna Baldwin, were sent home for the night on Monday after considering their verdict for several hours.

They are due to return at 1000 BST on Tuesday for a second day of deliberations at Cardiff Crown Court.

Factory worker Mr Baldwin, 36, of Pontypool, south Wales, has denied murdering his stepdaughter, saying she died after accidentally falling down the stairs during an argument.

During the seven-week trial, the prosecution have alleged that Mr Baldwin murdered Jenna, buried her body in a shallow grave, then sent bogus text messages to convince police and his wife Desiree the teenager was still alive.

Before they were sent out, Judge John Griffiths Williams QC told jurors to put sympathy for Jenna out of their minds when deciding on their verdict.

He said: "When a life is lost, particularly one of a pretty girl whose life was full of promise, there is always sympathy for the deceased and the family.

"But you will put such sympathy out of your mind and approach the evidence objectively.

"The prosecution case is that Baldwin is a skilled liar who craftily and cleverly constructed his lies.

"But the defence say you should not place undue unfair emphasis on the lies.

"The defence say Baldwin's deception of his wife and the police does not help in determining whether he was guilty or not."

The trial continues.

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