Darren Adie murder trial day five: Defence and crown closing arguments

Tributes were left to Darren Adie at Tweed Avenue
Tributes were left to Darren Adie at Tweed Avenue

The jury in the Darren Adie murder trial will begin their deliberations on Monday.

The crown and defence gave their closing speeches today (Friday) at the High Court in Dunfermline.

The jury will be addressed by the judge Lord Uist on Monday before considering a verdict.

Gordon Coventry denies that on May 28 last year at Spey Avenue, near its junction with Napier Street, he assaulted Darren Adie by repeatedly striking him on the body with a knife or similar instrument, murdered him and did this having previously evinced malice and ill-will towards him.

Coventry (52). from Overton Mains, Kirkcaldy, has admitted being involved in a struggle with 42-year-old Mr Adie.

However, he claims it was an aggressive and drunk Mr Adie who pulled out the knife and that he was stabbed “by accident” during the struggle which followed.

Mr Adie walked away after incident but collapsed and died in a street nearby.

Coventry disposed of the knife, his clothing and his mobile phones over the following days, saying he was “in a panic”.

Advocate depute Tim Niven-Smith told the jury that evidence from witnesses suggested that Mr Adie was “very drunk, intoxicated but in good spirits” in the hours before his death.

He went on, “He was six feet tall, around 17 and a half stones, heavily built. He was also a rather vulnerable man, obese, staggering about the streets of Kirkcaldy.”

Mr Niven-Smith said it had been said by a witness that Mr Adie’s “paranoia was getting worse” in the period before his death.

“It seems his perception was people were saying nasty things about him,” Mr Niven-Smith said. “We heard from the evidence of David Taylor there was someone saying nasty things about him in the weeks before he died.”

He continued that the person involved was Gordon Coventry who, according to his former friend Mr Taylor, had called Mr Adie a “beast” and a “grass” in the weeks before the stabbing.

Mr Niven-Smith also highlighted the evidence of Mr Taylor about a comment allegedly made by Coventry just two or three days before the death: “I’m going to do him.”

Defence solicitor Gordon Martin told the jury they must put aside understandable sympathies for Mr Adie’s family and friends.

He also admitted that his client, a self-confessed drug dealer, may not the type of person most people would want as their next door neighbour. However, “it’s not a popularity contest” he added.

“Much has been made of the vulnerability of Darren Adie that early evening,” Mr Martin said. “Much has been made about him being under the influence of alcohol, staggering,” said Mr Martin.

“Does the cloak of alcohol make it impossible for him to be aggressive? Are there no staggering, aggressive men in Scotland’s streets?

“Just because he was staggering, doesn’t mean he didn’t do what Gordon Coventry said.

“This was a man who earlier that day argued with the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ as his mother-in-law described herself.

“Security staff at Aldi came out of the shop and asked him to go away.

“Do you think it’s impossible that he may have been aggressive? Do you think it’s impossible he was the one shouting at Gordon Coventry? That he was the one who was acting aggressively?”

Lord Uist will deliver his charge to the jury on Monday morning.

Yesterday (Thursday) Coventry described coming across a drunk Mr Adie near his home on a Saturday evening last May.

“He was being loud and aggressive. He shouted, ‘What are you looking at?’ I was the only person in the vicinity,” Coventry said at his trial at the High Court in Dunfermline.

“He shouted at me on a couple of occasions. I didn’t answer. He was on the same side of the street as me.

“He pulled a knife out of his right hand pocket. It was a lock knife and he had it in his right hand.

“I had a confrontation with him. I got into a struggle with him. I tried to grab his right hand with both my hands. I wasn’t wanting assaulted.

“Was the knife open or closed?” asked defence solicitor Gordon Martin.

“Open,” answered Coventry, of Overton Mains, Kirkcaldy. He went on, “I was involved in a struggle and the knife entered his ribs in the struggle.”

Coventry said he then took the knife and left. He said Mr Adie, 42, also walked away and had “his hands up in the air shouting.”

Coventry said he went home and took off his clothing, which he later discarded in woodlands.

He admitted he also discarded one of his mobile phones that same night, others in the following days and had later thrown the knife into the sea at West Wemyss.

Judge Lord Uist asked Coventry, “Just to make it clear, what you are saying is what happened was an accident?”

“Yes,” said Coventry.

A previous witness David Taylor had said in his evidence that Coventry had told him that he was going to “do” Darren Adie days before he died and had called him “a beast”.

Coventry told the court this had been a fabrication by Mr Taylor and he had never said that.

The court was shown CCTV video of Mr Adie, described as a “colourful local character”, staggering about the street outside a local shop around 20 minutes before he was stabbed.

Advocate depute Tim Niven-Smith asked Coventry, “We’ve seen the CCTV and Mr Adie can barely stand up straight can he?

“He’s staggering, yes,” said Coventry.

“It would be quite easy to get away from a man as drunk as that, wouldn’t it?”

“I don’t know,” said Coventry.

Mr Niven-Smith asked Coventry why he had discarded the knife, his clothes and his phones if it all had been accident.

“I was in a panic. Nobody would have believed me,” said Coventry.

He began his evidence by admitting he was a drug dealer who sold cannabis and Valium.

He used other people to rent out properties and set up cannabis farms.

Following the death of Mr Adie, Coventry admitted telling his former partner he had £44,000 he wanted her to have. When she asked if he had murdered Darren Adie he told her there would be no DNA evidence, he said.