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Murder Retrial: Man beat 'rival to death' to end competition for wife's affections

Anderson denies murdering 60-year-old gardener in 2013

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

The retrial of a former Castletown man accused of beating his wife’s lover to death almost 10 years ago has started today (15 May).

Ian Anthony Anderson, who is currently care of the Isle of Man Prison, is accused of murdering Neil Edward Roberts between 30 November and 1 December 2013.

At Douglas Courthouse this afternoon two new jurors were sworn-in before the prosecuting advocate, Peter Wright KC, opened the case against the 54-year-old.

The 12 jurors – five men and seven women – listened as Deemster Graeme Cook explained the re-trial was necessary due to psychiatric evidence not being put forward ‘properly’ to the original jury.

“No-one should be influenced by what has gone before,” he told them.

‘Sustained and severe attack’

Taking the jury back to the events of 2013 Mr Wright KC told the court Mr Anderson, who was 45 at the time, had attacked the self-employed gardener following a visit to a pub in Port Erin.

Mr Roberts, who was from Ballabeg, had returned to Mr Anderson’s home – on Queen Street in Castletown – where the prosecutor claimed he'd proceeded to ‘beat and stamp, literally, the living daylights out of him’.

The jury was told Mrs Anderson had been in a sexual relationship with 60-year-old Mr Roberts – an arrangement described in court as an ‘open secret’ between the three individuals.

“We say Mr Anderson knew about the relationship,” Mr Wright KC said: “It was something he wasn’t happy about.”

Mrs Anderson’s apparent refusal to end the relationship was said to have led to the dispute between the two men on the night: “It was an argument that became violent,” the prosecutor added.

The court heard Mr Roberts was ‘much the worse for drink’ and was ‘no match’ for Mr Anderson as he unleashed a ‘sustained and very serious attack’ in the living room of the terraced property.

 ‘Un-survivable injuries’

Jurors were told ‘almost every bone’ in Mr Roberts’ face was broken; he’d also suffered a fractured skull, damage to his brain and multiple fractures to other bones in his body.

Pathology evidence revealed the injuries had been committed using a ‘considerable amount of force’ caused by ‘repeated, and very forceful, stamping or even jumping’.

Describing the impact as ‘un-survivable’ the prosecutor told the court that within a ‘short period of time’ Mr Roberts had succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene.

Ian Anderson is said to have delayed calling 999 before seeking an ambulance for his own ‘somewhat inconsequential injuries’.

Describing it as ‘no cry for help’ Mr Wright KC added: “We say he’d done what he set out to do – which was to kill him.

“In anger he’d beaten his rival to death,” he added – further describing how Mr Anderson had allegedly inflicted ‘unlawful and deadly violence’ to end the competition for his wife’s affections.

Manslaughter

The court was told that Mr Anderson accepts that he killed Mr Roberts unlawfully and that he was not acting in self-defence.

His advocates will put forward the defence of manslaughter by provocation or by reason of diminished responsibility arguing that he was ‘substantially impaired’ due to a ‘mental abnormality’.

The jury was told Mr Anderson was diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder following the incident.  

Mr Wright KC said that defence is refuted by the prosecution adding that Mr Anderson’s actions were ‘inexcusable’.

They were, he said, an ‘unwarranted and unreasonable’ reaction to the belief Mrs Anderson and Mr Roberts were going to continue, and progress, their relationship.

“You can’t just kill your rival because you lose your temper,” the prosecutor said.

Describing Mr Anderson as a ‘jealous man’ who had used force which was ‘neither necessary or proportionate’ he added: “Mr Anderson knew precisely what he was doing and why.

“We say the killing of Mr Roberts was the crime of murder.

“In an uncontrolled fit of anger he chose to beat and stamp his rival to death.

“He lost it entirely by reason of the anger he felt – a reasonable man would not do what he did and kill in such circumstances,” he concluded.

Trial continues

Ian Anderson denies murder.

The trial will continue tomorrow (16 May).

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