Doncaster murder accused ‘told partner to tell lies’

Thomas Groome, of Thorne, whose death sparked a court case

Thomas Groome, of Thorne, whose death sparked a court case

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A ‘very clever’ man tried to convince his partner to lie to the police as he tried to cover his tracks – after he admitted to killing a man.

Jason Junior Thaxter, aged 39, of Ramsden Road, Hexthorpe, denies murdering Thomas Groome so he and his mum could enjoy a €150,000 windfall their victim had received.

Thaxter’s mother June Buttle, who is serving a 16-year jail term for Groome’s manslaughter, admitted killing her 54-yerar-old partner with a male accomplice, although she has refused to give police his name.

However, in confessions to two people she revealed she and Thaxter killed Mr Groome. Thaxter had also confessed to his then partner Rebecca Duggan at the time of the killing, around New Year’s Day 2010.

In police interviews, shown at Sheffield Crown Court, Ms Duggan said Thaxter had asked her to say John Ward, one of the people Buttle had confessed to, had been in their house, where Groome is alleged to have been killed, around the time of his death.

“Jason told me to make up that this guy John had been round looking for his mum.

“He told me to say that we’d gone out with the kids and left the three of them in the house. I’ve never seen this John Ward before, I don’t know him.

“He said to say when we got back Thomas was gone and John was gone and it was just June in the house. He said that if the police found any blood I should say he had found Tommy injecting drugs.”

She added that Thaxter was ‘very clever’.

The court heard Rebecca did not tell police about his confession until June last year because she was fearful of him, but by then she was in a new relationship and felt it was safe to come forward.

Giving evidence from behind a curtain in the witness box, she told the court Thaxter had started being violent towards her just two months after their relationship began, in May 1997, when she was 16-years-old.

But Jason Bartfield, defending, said that the allegations were not true.

He asked Ms Duggan why it had taken until June 23 last year to report her domestic abuse claims to the police.

She said: “I loved him so I didn’t report it to anyone. I fell for him in every way, I really liked him.”

Ms Duggan added: “Just because I didn’t say anything then doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it did. I’m not a liar.”

Thaxter denies murder and conspiracy to prevent the burial of a body.

The trial continues.