Trio on trial for perverting course of justice after Dartford takeaway manslaughter

This Is Local London: Eddy Ives was jailed for eight years in September for the manslaughter of Mr Mahoney. Eddy Ives was jailed for eight years in September for the manslaughter of Mr Mahoney.

A MAN and two women are on trial accused of perverting the course of justice after the manslaughter of Ben Mahoney in Dartford earlier this year.

Neil Sookoo, 37 and his partner Thereza George, 42, both of Hampton Crescent, Gravesend, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court today (TUES) along with Meranda Eccleston, 41, of St Gregory's Crescent, Gravesend.

The trio deny perverting the course of justice by conspiring to persuade a witness to withdraw his statement.

Mrs Eccleston is the sister of former boxer Eddy Ives, 30, from Gravesend, who was found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Mahoney after a fight broke out at the House on the Hill kebab shop in East Hill, Dartford on April 12 this year.

Mr Mahoney, 30, of St Martin's Road, Dartford, died of a brain haemorrhage after being repeatedly punched in the head, face and neck. On November 22 Ives pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice in relation to the same case.

He was jailed for eight years in September for the manslaughter of Mr Mahoney.

The defendants, who have all pleaded not guilty, allegedly helped Ives by passing on the names of three witnesses in the case to Mr Sookoo who went on to tell kebab shop worker Cafer Zorlu, who witnessed the attack, to withdraw his statement.

Ian Hope, prosecuting, said Mr Sookoo called Mr Zorlu several times.

Jurors heard that when he got through he said“you should withdraw your statement because the Ives family will pay you a visit, they are not very nice people”.

Mr Zorlu called the police shortly after and informed them of the call and the defendants were later arrested.

The court heard how after his arrest Ives made a series of calls to his dad and sister which were recorded while he was in Lewes Prison before his trial.

On May 9 Ives rang his parents and told them the “kebab shop men had made it look bad” for him and they said Mr Ives threw the first punch.

He was also heard in another phonecall telling his cousin the fight had been an“accident”and that Mr Mahoney was around his own age.

It was later agreed Mr Mahoney threw the first punch and Ives carried on the fight.

On June 12 Ives was visited by his sister Mrs Eccleston and defendant Ms George in prison.

In statements read out to the court Ms George said they had“small talk”and didn't talk about any witnesses by name.

Later that day the court heard Ives called his sister, the defendant, and told her the spelling of the names of the men in the kebab shop.

The tape was played in court and Ives was heard telling his sister to“get a pen”.

He was heard spelling out the names letter by letter of Mr Zorlu, Rasim Listci and Oxuddan Murat, who were all witnesses to the attack.

The prosecution alleges the names of the kebab shop workers were passed on by Mrs Eccleston to her friend Ms George and she then passed them onto her partner Mr Sookoo who told Mr Zorlu to withdraw his statement.

The trial continues.

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