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Murder Retrial: Accused - 'There was a point when I lost it'

Anderson begins giving evidence

*This report contains information which some readers may find distressing. 

A former Castletown resident has told a jury ‘there was a point when I lost it’ during a fight with his wife’s lover saying he feels ‘terrible’ that he died. 

Ian Anthony Anderson is undergoing a retrial at Douglas Courthouse accused of murdering Neil Edward Roberts almost a decade ago. 

The 60-year-old was found dead at a property on Queen Street in the early hours of 1 December 2013.

You can find out more HERE.

Today (18 May) at Douglas Courthouse Mr Anderson began giving evidence to the jury telling them Mr Roberts had started the altercation by punching him in the head and he’d fought back. 

“Did you kill Neil Roberts,” defence advocate Crispin Aylett KC asked him. 

“Yes,” Mr Anderson replied. 

“Do you accept you’re guilty of manslaughter?” Mr Aylett added.

“Yes,” said Mr Anderson. 

Isle of Man 

Jurors heard Mr Anderson had moved to the Isle of Man, with his wife Alison, in January 2012 with the engineer taking up a management position at Ronaldsway Aircraft Company. 

The couple met Mr Roberts, from Ballabeg, in a pub in Castletown in the middle of that year – Mr Anderson’s first recollection, he said, was of the gardener asking to borrow money. 

“I felt sorry for him,” the 55-year-old told the jury - describing Mr Roberts as ‘jovial’ and ‘interesting company’ and adding the three became friends and began to socialise together. 

In April 2013 Mr Anderson began a new job which required him to commute between the UK and the Island – a position he described as ‘stressful’. 

When asked if he had any reason to think that Mr Roberts had become ‘sweet’ on his wife Mr Anderson recounted a time when he heard the man expressing his love for her whilst in the car.  

“It was just so out of the blue,” he told the jury. 

Back and forward 

Jurors were provided with a chronology of messages and calls exchanged between the three individuals from January to November 2013.

These included texts where Mr Roberts and Mrs Anderson declared their feelings for each other.

In response to seeing a message, in May 2013, Mr Anderson said he’d replied to Mr Roberts asking him to ‘keep away’ from the couple before smashing his wife’s phone. 

Mrs Anderson, the court heard, had left the couple’s home on at least three occasions – between July and November - to reside with Mr Roberts. 

One of these followed an incident in Castletown Square, and later at Mr Roberts’ home, which saw Mr Anderson – who had no previous convictions – arrested and taken to court.

“That was the worst experience I had ever had – at that time - in my life,” Mr Anderson said.

Another dispute 10 days later, which resulted in Mrs Anderson leaving the Queen Street property again, was said to have been sparked by Mr Anderson’s early arrival home from the UK. 

He told jurors he’d got to the cottage to see ‘a pair of legs’ – which he believed were Mr Roberts - running across the landing. 

When his wife left again in September Mr Anderson told the jury:  “I was exhausted. I was in turmoil. I assumed she’d gone to stop with Neil.”

Infidelity 

When asked if Mrs Anderson had ever confirmed she was having an affair the defendant told the jury: “She just wouldn’t say anything.” 

Details of Mr Anderson’s own infidelity – including an affair with a neighbour during 2013 – were also highlighted.

Mrs Anderson, the jury was told, returned home later in September leaving Mr Anderson ‘confused’.

“I felt like I was having an affair with my wife,” he told the court. 

He said during a subsequent meeting with Mr Roberts he'd told him: “It’s not what you think.”

“He was trying to convince me that there was nothing like an affair going on,” Mr Anderson added.

Questioned, by his advocate, about what he did think was happening Mr Anderson replied: “I thought they were seeing each other in a sexual way.” 

In October Mr Roberts, who owed Mr Anderson £7,000, bought a car for Mrs Anderson – asked how he felt at the time Mr Anderson replied: “I think I’d kind of given up.” 

He told the jury he was unaware that Mr Roberts had been evicted from his property on the Parville Estate, in November, or that he was living at his home during the week whilst he was working away. 

‘An insecure fool’ 

Details of Mr Anderson’s efforts to locate his wife on 29 November were also given to the jury after he returned from working in London earlier than expected. 

“I was stressed with work. I came back early because I just needed a break,” he told the court. 

Messages showed Mr Roberts telling Mr Anderson he was ‘mentally unstable’ with his wife’s lover describing him as ‘an insecure fool’ adding ‘no wonder she wants away.”

Another message said: “Go and see a doctor because trust me you’ll have a nervous breakdown that will cripple you.”

Mr Anderson told the court he thought Mr Roberts was trying to make him believe the situation was ‘all in my head’. 

Trial continues

Ian Anderson denies murder. 

The trial continues. 

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