A man said he was burgling a home at the time he is accused of burying the body of a missing father.
Roy Bartup, accused of dumping Gary Hampson’s corpse on January 21, 2011, yesterday (December 3) gave evidence at Hove Crown Court.
Along with Dan Alexander – who is also accused of murdering Mr Hampson – and Alan Topping, Bartup is accused of driving a stolen car along the A23 to near Guildford, Surrey, and disposing of the father-of-one’s body.
Bartup admitted he was in the car and that he, Alexander and another man, who he did not name, drove to the Guildford area, but said they burgled a home.
Asked if he was involved in disposing of Mr Hampson’s body, Bartup, of Natal Road, Brighton, said: “Absolutely not”.
He said it took them such a long to get from Brighton to Guildford and back because they stopped regularly along the way to investigate homes and see if they were suitable for burgling, not because they were looking for places to dump a body.
Asked if Mr Hampson’s body was in the car’s boot, he said: “There was nothing in the boot. I did not think to look in the boot.”
Asked why he travelled all the way to Surrey to burgle, he said: “That’s my MO [modus operandi]. I go into the country and do country mansions for antiques.
“It takes a long time for police to get there and gives me time for a getaway.”
He said on January 21, 2011, there were no suitable homes so they ended up at a detached property in a cul-de-sac near Guildford.
He said he stole two boxes of red wine, a brass figurine and a barometer but was disappointed because a “beautiful” wooden rocking horse would not fit in the car.
He told the court he was reluctant to admit to the burglary because it was “going to get me quite a lot of time”.
He said afterwards he, Alexander and the other man travelled back to Brighton where an antique dealer bought their haul for £300.
He said: “I knew I was getting ripped off. The dealer knew we were addicts because he was giving us a lecture about how it [drugs] messed up your life while ripping us off.”
He told jurors that he first learned the disappearance of Mr Hampson was being treated as a murder on April 7, when he read the front page of The Argus as he sat on a bus.
Alexander, 61, denies murder. It is alleged he killed Mr Hampson, 42, of Old Shoreham Road, Portslade, on January 8, last year, in the garage they co-ran, Kop Cars, in Brighton.
Bartup, 57; Linda Rosenberg, 67, of Montpellier Road; Alexander, of no fixed address; and Topping, 48, of no fixed address, deny perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Students left in tears after being forced to abandon exams due to bomb hoax
- Hove MP implores youth vote to help decide the EU referendum for Remain
- Arundel bypass route through Binsted would be 'death' of village, say campaigners
- The Argus Santa Bus brings in a record of close to £30,000 for charity
- Ridgeview wines from Sussex are the tipple of choice for No 10