THE seven men and five women who will decide the fate of the three men accused of murdering a 26-year-old Oswaldtwistle man have begun their deliberations.
Peter Leonard, 52, of Trinity Street, Oswaldtwistle, and Ian Palmer, 45, of Whitegate Close, Padiham, deny murdering convicted rapist Alan Lee Street.
Kieron Davison, 21, of Lancaster Drive, Padiham, also denied murdering Mr Street until last Thursday, when he admitted manslaughter in the presence of the jury.
However, the prosecution refused to accept his plea to the lesser charge.
Another man, Allan Palmer, 44, of Stockbridge Road, Padiham, brother of Ian Palmer, pleaded guilty to murder at the beginning of the trial.
The jury, who have sat in Preston Crown Court for almost five weeks and listened to evidence from the family and friends of the accused, victim and forensic experts, were due to begin their deliberation yesterday (Thursday) afternoon as the Observer went to press.
A full public gallery including Mr Street’s mother Anne Bennett, and ex-partner Jayne Proctor, have been in court throughout the trial.
Mr Street’s second cousin and Peter Leonard’s partner Nicola Street, were also in court to hear the judge begin his summing up this week.
Judge Anthony Russell said: "The facts of this case are horrific. When he was conscious, Alan Street must have been petrified.
"As we have heard, Alan Street was not a savoury character, but he was a human being who did not deserve to die in this way."
Judge Russell began his summing up by directing the jury through points of law and walking them through the evidence.
Alan Street went missing on 20 December 2008 after a night out in Burnley Town Centre.
The police believe he was the victim of a "sustained and prolonged attack with an element of torture" at a house in Stockbridge Road, Padiham.
A murder inquiry was launched and his body was discovered lying face down in a culvert, under Woodnook Mill, in Mount Street, Accrington, weighted down by bricks nearly a month later.
During his summing up, Judge Russell detailed the evidence found in the blood soaked downstairs rooms of 29 Stockbridge Road, Padiham, discovered by police.
He also detailed the 20 or more facial injuries Mr Street had suffered from before his death.
Details outlining Mr Street’s final movements on ‘Mad Friday’ in Burnley Town Centre, and the chance meeting that saw him meet up with the defendants, was also mentioned.
The judge began summing up the evidence given by each witness called by the prosecution and the defence teams.
On Wednesday afternoon the trial was saved from a last minute retrial after an inadmissible comment was made in front of them.
However, the judge ordered the jury to ignore the comments when making their decision.