A paranoid schizophrenic standing trial for the murder of a Ryanair cabin steward whose body was found buried under an outhouse in Ellesmere Port has claimed he was ‘a puppet’ following orders.
French native Sebastian Bendou, 36, told a Chester Crown Court jury he was ‘naive’ and acting on the instructions of his friend Dominik Kocher, who has already been found guilty of Christophe Borgye’s 2009 murder.
Bendou, who lived with Borgye and another friend Manuel Wagner, who has been acquitted of assisting Kocher and preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body at an earlier trial, denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness.
Mr Borgye, 36, died after being hit over the head with a clawhammer between eight to 10 times at his home in Hylton Court, Ellesmere Port, on April 23, 2009.
His body was discovered wrapped in a duvet cover and tarpaulin, entombed in a cement structure inside the property’s outhouse on May 13 last year.
Bendou told the jury of six men and six women that Kocher claimed Mr Borgye was a spy working for the French Government and that ‘the Americans’ had ordered him to be killed.
Despite Bendou describing Mr Borgye as ‘polite, kind’ and ‘someone I liked and got on well with’, he told the court: “I believed what he (Kocher) said. I was naive. I trusted him as he was like a brother to me. But I was a puppet, an instrument.”
In early 2009, Kocher told Bendou he’d received information from ‘someone higher up’ than he, that Mr Borgye was going to rape his daughter, and that he needed to be ‘eliminated’.
Bendou said: “I told him twice not to do it and said I didn’t want to do it but he told me I had better do it because ‘I am watching you’.”
As Kocher began buying materials to prepare for the killing and build the ‘tomb’, John McDermott QC, prosecuting, asked Bendou why he didn’t warn Mr Borgye he was going to be killed.
“I don’t know, I was indoctrinated,” he said.
Recalling the events of April 23, 2009, Bendou said the men laid tarpaulin on the kitchen floor and called Mr Borgye into the room.
He said Kocher allowed Wagner to strike the first blows with a clawhammer then Kocher stabbed Mr Borgye so forcefully in the neck that the knife broke, before Bendou struck him three final times across the head.
He then helped his friends transport the dead body into the ready-made tomb, before going out for lunch.
When Mr Borgye was reported missing a month later, they told police he had gone travelling, taking only his address book.
Bendou, who was formally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia following his arrest last May, told the court he first became aware of ‘a machine’ in his head in September, 2009 – five months after the killing.
The court heard that Bendou’s mother, a psychiatric patient, committed suicide by throwing herself off a seventh floor balcony in 1988.
Mr McDermott said: “Mr Borgye was lured into the kitchen for his execution. There is no other word for it.
“(Bendou) joined in enthusiastically and he brought the awful business to an end. Then he went to lunch and said that he enjoyed it.”
He added: “There is no special law that says killing spies is alright.
“He knew precisely what he was doing. He was working to a plan. He was not saying that voices in his head commanded him to kill Christophe. The only voice that told him to kill Christophe was only too mortal.”
The trial continues.