Sussex

Killed St Leonards vicar 'touched boy in bath'

Ronald Glazebrook
Image caption Ronald Glazebrook's dismembered body was found in woods

A former altar boy accused of killing a vicar has claimed the 81-year-old man touched him inappropriately in the bath.

Christopher Hunnisett, now 26, denies murder at Lewes Crown Court.

He told the court he was 17 when the Reverend Ronald Glazebrook came into the bathroom and touched his inner thigh at their flat in St Leonards.

He said he punched him and locked himself in his bedroom. He found his landlord dead in the bath the next day.

Mr Hunnisett is accused of dismembering the body and leaving the remains at woodland locations across East Sussex.

Mr Hunnisett, formerly of Coventry Road, St Leonards, said he was in the bath at the ground floor flat in Dane Road when the vicar came in wearing his pyjamas and sat on the edge.

He said: "I can't recall the exact conversation. It was along the lines of we needed to talk and try and bury the hatchet, and put things behind us. He said he cared for me and loved me."

Mr Hunnisett said he felt "uncomfortable" about the vicar being in the bathroom, but continued talking to him.

He told the court: "He basically wanted me to show that I cared in return and he ended up at some point putting his hand on my leg, on the inner thigh of my left leg."

Mr Hunnisett said he hit the vicar with a "twisting sort of punch" as hard as he could.

He said: "I hit his head and the force of it carried him into the bath and over. He came in head first.

"At some point he was kind of on top of me. I struggled with him to get myself out from underneath him."

Mr Hunnisett said he got out of the bath, slammed the door shut, and ran to his bedroom, where he placed his bed in front of the door.

'Disgusting and gross'

He told jurors he did not care what condition he left the elderly man in, and found him dead the next day.

The court heard Mr Hunnisett first met the vicar at the age of 12 while he was a church server at Christ Church.

The clergyman asked him to do gardening, cleaning and decorating jobs around his home, although Mr Hunnisett kept his distance after one inappropriate incident, jurors were told.

He started living with the vicar at the age of 15 after experiencing difficulties at home, but the situation "changed" after the first few days, and Hunnisett told the court he grew to "hate" the vicar.

He told the court he did not speak about the "disgusting and gross" incidents and was afraid the vicar would tell people about it.

The jury has been told the case is a retrial after the Appeal Court quashed his original conviction in 2002 for murder.

Prosecutors have said there was no suggestion of sexual abuse in the original trial and Hunnisett was introducing a "wholly unlikely story" this time round.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.

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