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Oliver Dearlove trial: Trevor Timon cleared of banker's murder after admitting manslaughter

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 22/02/2017 Chloe Chaplain

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The violent plasterer who killed banker Oliver Dearlove with a single punch has been cleared of murder by a jury after he admitted to manslaughter.

Jobless Trevor Timon, 31, delivered a "powerful" left hook to Oliver Dearlove's head, knocking him unconscious, a court heard.

The defendant, who had a history of violence, denied intending to seriously hurt the 30-year-old and said he was just "pissed off" at one of his friends for making a racist comment.

Timon, of Plumstead, south-east London, admitted manslaughter but was cleared of murder after a jury deliberated for three hours.

The victim's mother Joy Wright and girlfriend Claire Wheatley sat in court throughout the Old Bailey trial supported by other family members.

Mr Dearlove, of New Eltham, worked as a relationship manager at Duncan Lawrie Private Bank having previously held a position at Coutts, the bank used by the Queen.

On August 27 last year, he had been eating and drinking with old Portsmouth University friends in Blackheath, south-east London.

At about half past midnight, they left Zerodegrees microbrewery and walked past Mordens nightclub where Timon had bought champagne for a group of women at a birthday party.

Timon and the women walked along Tranquil Vale to get a cab home when they came across Mr Dearlove and two friends.

The court heard different accounts from Timon, the four women and Mr Dearlove's friends on how the violence erupted.

One of the women described having a friendly chat with Mr Dearlove after she took off her new high heels to nurse her sore feet.

Mr Dearlove was "polite" as he admired her baby pictures before Timon demanded to know what they were talking about.

She said: "I showed him a picture and he said 'oh wow he's really beautiful'. To myself he was perfectly fine, just polite.

"Trevor was walking towards us then there was an exchange of words. Trevor said something like 'what are you saying, what's going on' to me or Oliver. It was not the friendliest but it was not overly horrible."

Mr Dearlove's friend Andrew Cook said Timon was angry and came out of nowhere with "bad intentions".

He said: "He was looking for a fight. Not a nice guy. We didn't know why, it all happened so quickly."

Giving evidence, Timon admitted telling the victim "'if you don't get out of my face I will knock you out" but said it was just a "figure of speech".

The defendant, who is mixed race, said he was upset when one of the victim's friends laughed and called him a "half chap".

Afterwards, Timon fled to Ireland to see his mother and sent a series of messages to a close female friend apologising for what happened before handing himself in to police.

He told the witness, who cannot be identified, that he had "mad love" for her, saying: "I'm scared, seriously, proper.

"I never ever meant to do it ... I'm sorry really from the bottom of my heart."

In the absence of the jury, defence barrister Courtenay Griffiths QC tried to block details about Timon's violent past from being aired in court.

But prosecutor Anthony Orchard QC successfully argued that Timon's evidence gave an impression which was at odds with his previous behaviour.

In February 2008, when he was aged 22, Timon angrily shouted at a bus driver, brandishing a golf club.

In January 2010, he shouted and swore saying he would "start f***ing fighting" while being restrained by his uncle.

On May 26 2010, Timon was verbally abusive towards a woman he knew and took issue with her talking to another man.

When she said she was talking to her friend, he responded: "No he's not, I'm going to bang you out" before punching her in the face.

She woke up lying on the ground, according to her account, although there was no medical evidence in the case.

Jurors were told Timon admitted battery, an offence which does not mean he intended to cause harm.

In July 2011, Timon tried to punch a barman after being refused re-entry to a pub after closing time, but the blow failed to connect.

Timon’s sentencing has been adjourned until Friday.

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