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Murderer denies 'making up' case to implicate his housemate in chilling plot

Manuel Wagner on trial for helping with killing of Christophe Borgye

Manuel Wagner is accused of being involved in the murder of Christophe Borgye(Image: Ian Cooper)

A lifer denies lying to implicate his housemate in the murder of Christophe Borgye.

Sebastian Bendou, 39, was giving evidence in the trial of Manuel Wagner, 29, after already being convicted of killing Mr Borgye in Ellesmere Port.

The victim, who was 35 at the time of his death, was attacked with a hammer and stabbed twice in the throat before his body was buried in a concrete tomb under a shed in April 2009.

Bendou, Wagner and Mr Borgye lived in the same house in Hylton Court.

The ‘ringleader’ Dominik Kocher, 37, who has also been sentenced to life in prison, lived across the road.

Wagner, from Toxteth, is now on trial at Liverpool Crown Court for his alleged part in the disturbing plot, but denies any involvement.

Bendou, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, tried to plead diminished responsibility on the grounds of his illness before he was convicted of murder in 2014.

Earlier in his evidence, he told the jury his housemate had struck the first blow on Mr Borgye with a hammer.

Mark George QC, defending, accused Bendou of trying to ‘hoodwink’ the jury at both his own trial and now at Wagner’s.

Air steward Christophe Borgye was murdered in April 2009

He said: “It is your evidence to this jury that you were not ill at the time Christophe was killed is it not?

“I am suggesting you are making up a case against Manuel Wagner which you know is false.”

Bendou, who now accepts his own conviction was fair, replied: “I can’t comment (on my illness at the time) as I am not a medical expert. It is difficult for me to say.”

The court heard how the witness was fearful of being deported to France as he might end up being put in the same prison as his former housemates.

Mr George continued: “Your illness made you believe some strange things, correct?

“Among those you believed Christophe was a spy for the French Government.

“You also believed Manuel Wagner was part of the plot to kill him didn’t you?

“I am suggesting that’s not true. Manuel was not involved at all in the killing.”

Crime scene at Hylton Court, Ellesmere Port(Image: Ian Cooper)

Bendou replied he had been ‘manipulated’ against Mr Borgye by Kocher and denied lying about Wagner’s involvement.

After the victim was entombed in the concrete chamber beneath the shed, they continued to live in Hylton Court for another three years before they all, including Kocher’s family, moved to Scotland.

A few months later Bendou fled the shared cottage as he thought he overheard Kocher talking about a plot to kill him, the court heard.

With just £1.50 in his pocket, he travelled back to Ellesmere Port, including walking from Carlisle to Lancaster.

After reaching his destination he ‘panicked’ as the crime came back to him and he called police to ‘surrender’.

Kocher was found guilty of murder in May 2014.

Wagner was cleared of assisting an offender and preventing a lawful burial at the same trial but the jury never heard from Bendou, who was convicted a few months later.

While in prison, the Frenchman wrote to Cheshire Constabulary and the CPS in order to try to ‘cut a deal’ to get time off his sentence and stop his deportation.

He said this was on the advice of a fellow inmate, but now realised this was not possible.

Mr George said the witness ‘knew exactly what he was doing’ and wanted the ‘authorities’ to reciprocate in exchange for his evidence.

Wagner denies a charge of murder. The trial continues.

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