Murder trial: crime reporter 'perturbed' after interviewing accused

Published: 21 Jun 2012 18:30

A CHILD killer accused of murdering a teenage au pair 46 years ago told a crime reporter he suspected there was a "sexual motive" for her killing six months after her death, a court heard.

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A CHILD killer accused of murdering a teenage au pair 46 years ago told a crime reporter he suspected there was a "sexual motive" for her killing six months after her death, a court heard.

David Burgess, 64, denies the murder of 17-year-old Yolande Waddington, whose naked body was found with stab wounds near a barn in Clay Lane, Beenham, on October 28, 1966.

But retired Daily Sketch journalist Peter Burden told Reading Crown Court today Burgess had mentioned the nanny when he interviewed him in connection with the murder of nine-year-old girls Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams in April 1967. Burgess was later convicted for murdering the two girls.

Mr Burden told the court: "When I first met him I had a conversation that I was very perturbed about."

Prosecutor John Price, QC, read the court a letter typed by Mr Burden after the two men met at a gravel pit where Burgess worked when the journalist asked him "did you kill those girls?"

The letter read: "He [Burgess] went an angry red and said 'no what do you think?' He went on to say 'I could understand the Yolande killing but not these little girls'."

Mr Burden's letter said he asked Burgess: "You mean there could be a sexual motive with Yolande and not with the little girls?"

He said Burgess had replied: "Yes that's right, there didn't seem to be any reason why they should be killed does there?"

The pair discussed how police had quizzed him after Yolande's death and questioned him about scratches on his face. He claimed Burgess told him: "I had been to the boozer and must have taken on too much and must have walked into a hedge."

He also claimed Burgess told him he used to own a knife similar to a broken one found at the barn, but said: "I lost mine just before the girl's murder."

Defence counsel Joel Bennathan, QC, challenged Mr Burden and said: "Some journalists are very accurate in every word they write down, others are less accurate. Where do you place yourself on the scale?"

Mr Burden said: "Very accurate."

The court was told colleagues of Burgess noticed scratches on his face when he turned up for work at Amey's gravel pit the day after Yolande died.

Jurors heard that workers had taken the "mickey" out of the defendant after hearing the teenager's death had sparked a murder investigation.

A statement read out in court from colleague Arthur Astles said: "He took the ribbing we gave him about the scratches in good heart. He did get fed up after a time because they did go on and on about it."

The court heard from Burgess' former friend and neighbour-but-one Jimmy Sharp, who said they would go poaching together.

Burgess burst into laughter in the dock when defence counsel, Joel Bennatham QC, referred to Mr Sharp as a poaching "expert".

Mr Sharp told the court Burgess had owned a knife similar to the one which featured on posters posted around the village by police appealing for information about the murder.

He said they would use the knife to remove cartridges from the gun when out poaching.

Mr Sharp told the court it is possible that he lost the knife while poaching but his memory was that he gave it back to Burgess.

The court heard he told police in 1966 he was "sure" Burgess had used the knife since the murder.

Jurors heard Burgess told a policeman he lost the knife five weeks before Yolande's body was found.

Burgess and Mr Sharp also took a journalist to see the barn and were greeted by a police cordon, the court was told.

Mr Sharp said he was not aware that the barn was known as a place "courting couples" would go and that he had never heard Burgess talk about it.

The trial continues.

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