Just before 2am on 9th March this year, Jack Hummerstone and Andre Vella, masked and carrying weapons, raided the flat in Colchester where the victim Tom Brittain was staying. The flat was the home of Matthew Purves and Zoe Lewis who were both present along with their infant children. The front door was kicked in, the occupants were threatened with an imitation firearm and a knife and when Tom Brittain and Matthew Purves fought back, Tom Brittain was stabbed to death in the hallway. Both Defendants fled into the night. There were no witnesses to the actual stabbing in the hallway and no forensic evidence to indicate who had wielded the knife.
After a three week trial Jack Hummerstone was convicted of murder, wounding with intent to do GBH, aggravated burglary and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear. Andre Vella was convicted of aggravated burglary and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear. At trial each sought to blame the other for murdering Tom Brittain. Both called fellow prisoners to give evidence against their respective co-defendants, raising particularly unusual disclosure questions for the Crown. Tony Prosser led for the Crown together with John Keal who dealt with the disclosure amongst other duties.