A JURY has been sworn in to hear evidence in a trial for two men accused of murder.

Giuseppe Petriccione and Francesco D’Agostino are alleged to have killed Serxhio Marku in Stafford Road, Brighton.

Police were called to the scene in the Prestonville area on September 11 last year.
Mr Marku, a 21-year-old Albanian, suffered critical injuries and was rushed to the Royal Sussex County Hospital but died later that day.

A wide police cordon was set up in Stafford Road and in neighbouring streets including Exeter Street as forensics officers moved in.

Officers went door to door to speak with neighbours as Operation Barnfield, a murder inquiry, was launched.

The Argus:

Now Italian chefs Petriccione, 46, and D’Agostino, 45, will stand trial accused of Mr Marku’s murder.

A jury of eight men and four women were sworn in to hear the case at Brighton Crown Court.

The court has been adapted with a larger jury area to allow the members to hear the case safely.

Alan Kent QC is expected to open the case for the prosecution tomorrow.

Petriccione, of Arienzo, near Naples in Italy, wore a white tracksuit in court and is represented by John Price QC and Nicholas Hamblin.

D’Agostino, of Stafford Road, Brighton, wore a black Adidas tracksuit top and blue jeans and is represented by Peter Wilcock QC and Dominic Cox.

Both men spoke only to confirm their names in the dock as they sat with security guards.

They stood to check jury members as they were called to take their places in the chilly courtroom.

Judge Christine Laing QC told the new jury members that steps have been taken to allow them to stay safe while the trial goes on.

The Argus:

She said the trial is expected to take four weeks, and told jurors that it was in fact a retrial, as the original case which had started in March was cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis.

The judge said: “We won’t be starting the case proper until tomorrow morning. For some reason it is absolutely perishing in this court, we are already frozen so you may be grateful we are not going to be keeping you any longer today.

“I know that coming into court now probably seems a bit cumbersome with the procedures we have to go through.

“We are following strict guidelines put in place to ensure your safety. Some may think it is a bit over the top, others may think it might not be enough.

“But I can assure you that every step has been taken to ensure that when you are here in the building that everything can be done for your safety and your continued good health.”

Judge Laing QC explained to the jury that both men are Italians, and have interpreters in the dock.

She said: “Mr D’Agostino speaks a pretty good level of English and prefers to have interpretation on bits he has not quite understood. 

“Mr Petriccione requires more intensive interpretation because he does not speak such good English.”

Both men deny the charges.