LONDON // Thomas Efremi’s barrister, Harry Potter, told the court his client was “not a monster”.
The court has heard Efremi insist that he was not aware Spence was going to the Cumberland Hotel that night and had not plotted to burgle a room with him.
“This is one of the most shocking crimes you could ever hear of, but it doesn’t require forward planning, let alone forward planning with somebody else,” said Mr Potter.
“It [the hotel] seemed to be a very easy place to penetrate security, all you have to do if you are an obvious drug addict is walk in and nobody says a word,” he added.
“Of course, after the incident and after any aggravated burglary takes place you have to either realise the property you have stolen, like putting the bank cards into the machine and getting the money out, or dispose of it.
“Sometimes you would do it yourself, sometimes you would rely on others and we know that others were involved – my client himself you know was involved in the fraudulent used of bank cards.
“He has pleaded guilty to it but he is not the only one – James Moss has also pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.”
“When Philip Spence arrived [at Efremi’s flat after the attacks] would anything have alerted Mr Efremi to what had happened?
“Once again, if he was aware of what had happened after it had happened, as long as he wasn”t aware beforehand he wouldn’t be guilty of anything,” said Mr Potter.
He accepted that his client was a “persistent, petty offender” but said plotting the hotel raid was “out of character”.
“He has got his own place and he has more resources than Mr Spence – would he jeopardise all that?
“Really would he then jeopardise so much, especially at his age and with his infirmity, to engage in what can only be described as an extraordinary scheme – to ally himself with a drug addict to carry out aggravated burglary,” he said.
“You can be sure about one thing, Mr Efremi is a rogue and a rascal.
“What you can’t be sure of is that he is a monster.”
The trial continues.