A MAN jointly accused of the brutal murder of a Chester man had taken out books of spells from the library and daubed strange symbols on a friend’s bedroom wall, a court heard.
Gary Anthony George, 41, is accused alongside Christine Margaret Holleran, 50, of murdering Andrew Mackenzie Nall, 53, at his flat in Eversley Park, off Liverpool Road, in August last year.
Jurors at Chester Crown Court yesterday heard George had a keen interest in witchcraft.
Giving evidence, Louise Hodgkinson, 37, a friend of George, told the court she had known him for more than five years and had shared his passion for witchcraft.
Miss Hodgkinson said: “He (George) had an interest in witchcraft. You could say he had an obsession at times.
“He liked spells and stuff like that. He wrote strange symbols on my wall and took photographs of them when I was staying at Crispin House. He seemed happy when he was doing it.”
George, of no fixed address, was said to have been a fan of horror films, in particular the 2009 Australian cult film The Loved Ones, which was suggested by Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting, to contain a scene which showed injuries similar to those suffered by Mr Nall during the attack.
Mr Unsworth asked a tearful Miss Hodgkinson whether she was aware George had been a fan of the film.
“From going around town, people said that he liked horror films,” replied Miss Hodgkinson.
“People said he liked the film The Loved Ones.”
Mr Unsworth suggested George had also been responsible for drawing similar symbols on the walls of the subway near City Road, which George denies.
“I’ve seen some of the graffiti in the subway and it looks like the drawings that were on my wall but I don’t know whether it was Gary who had done them.”
Holleran had been living with Mr Nall at his flat in the months leading up to his death, but was said to have fallen out with him in the days before.
Miss Hodgkinson told the court she had seen George, who she said would drink up to six bottles of sherry a day, talking to Mr Nall and drinking cider with him at about 5pm on August 30 – the last time Mr Nall was seen alive.
“I knew of Andy, I knew him as Scottish Andy,” said Miss Hodgkinson.
“He was usually with Christine. I used to call her Cockney Christine. He wasn’t with her that afternoon and he had been asking how Gary was. He went over to speak to him and I saw them sharing a bottle of cider later on.
“He (Mr Nall) had said Christine wasn’t living with him anymore and that he was ‘glad of a break’.”
Miss Hodgkinson recalled seeing George on the morning of August 31, wearing a green wax jacket that belonged to Mr Nall, describing him as being ‘emotional and crying’.
“I was outside Crispin House and I saw Gary. He was wearing a green jacket and started to walk over towards me.”
When asked by John Wyn Williams, defending George, if she had seen the jacket before, she replied “Yes, on Andy.”
Miss Hodgkinson continued: “He said he had killed someone and I told him I didn’t believe him.
“It was then that the police arrived and said they were arresting him for a Section 18 (assault occasioning grievous bodily harm). He then said he had killed a man to the two officers. I told him to shut up.”
Police initially arrested George after another homeless man, Brian Reilly, was assaulted with a broken bottle in a subway near the Fountain’s Roundabout on the morning of August 31, a charge which George denies.
George and Holleran deny murdering Mr Nall, although George admits killing him on the grounds of diminished responsibility.