Man accused of OAP’s death will now stand trial

William Heathcote.
William Heathcote.

A man accused of causing a Warwick pensioner’s death is to stand trial after all – after the prosecution successfully got a judge’s ruling that he had no case to answer overturned.

Steven Jones (25) who is from Warwick but of no fixed address, had been charged with the manslaughter of 75-year-old William Heathcote in November 2014.

The pensioner died after collapsing with heart failure following a confrontation with Jones, who had banged on the window of his home in Pickard Street, Warwick.

Following a submission by Jones’s barrister Andrew Fisher QC at Warwick Crown Court in July, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones ruled that, given the circumstances, there was no case against him in law.

But following an adjournment for the judge’s ruling to be considered, prosecutor Benjamin Amina QC revealed: “The Crown has served on the High Court, and on solicitors for Mr Jones, an application for a Voluntary Bill.”

A Voluntary Bill of Indictment is another, little-used, way in which a person can be charged with an alleged offence.

The prosecution applying for one in Jones’s case was effectively a way of challenging the judge’s ruling by asking the High Court to reinstate the manslaughter charge.

And following a hearing last month a High Court judge agreed to issue a Voluntary Bill of Indictment, again charging Jones with Mr Heathcote’s manslaughter.

So the case was listed once more at the crown court, where the hearing went ahead in Jones’s absence when he was not produced from the prison where he is on remand.

He had been expected to enter not guilty pleas to the manslaughter charge and a further charge of perverting the course of justice.

And Judge Griffith-Jones adjourned the case for Jones to stand trial on a date which has already been fixed, October 11, with three other people.

Frankie McDonagh (18) of Cherry Street, Warwick; Stephan Reilly (19) of Willes Road, Leamington; and Paige Tomlinson (18) of Mercia Way, Warwick, have all denied perverting the course of justice.

It is alleged they did so by giving false accounts to the police between November 17 and November 24 to conceal the fact that Jones had banged on the window of Mr Heathcote’s home.

Another teenager, Michelle Baron (19) of Radford Road, Leamington, had admitted that charge and will be sentence at the conclusion of the trial.