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Murder accused storms from court, tells barrister to ‘piss off’

A CAREER criminal accused of murdering a man for his iPhone told a top barrister to "piss off" as he angrily stormed out of the witness box today.

Ricky Smith, 27, told Richard Smith QC, who is defending his co-accused, that he was the "f****** bully" and not him.

In front of the jury, the burly defendent promptly marched out of the witness box and back to the dock before heading downstairs accompanied by guards.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Silber, then adjourned proceedings.

The dramatic outburst took place at Bristol Crown Court where Smith and Michael Sexton, 28, are on trial for the murder of Keith Soons, 36.

The father of one died after he tried to remonstrate with two robbers who had stolen his wallet, ring and iPhone4 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in February.

Smith was in the witness box for a second day and Mr Smith was asking him a series of questions about whether he was "the kind of person that uses people".

Smith accepted that he was and he got more and more angry as Mr Smith continued to question him on whether he was letting Sexton take the blame for something he did.

He finally snapped when the barrister asked him if he had made his girlfriend Carolanne Williams provide police with a false alibi to cover his tracks on the night Mr Soons died.

Smith told Mr Smith: "Trying to call me a f****** bully.

"You're the f****** bully. Piss off, I ain't doing this."

After storming off, Smith's own barrister, Bernard Richmond QC, asked for an adjournment to speak to his client.

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After a short break, Mr Richmond told jurors: "You will see that Mr Smith has returned to court. He does not intend to go back into the witness box."

The judge asked Mr Richmond: "Have you advised your client that if without good cause he refuses to answer questions, the jury may draw such inferences as they feel proper?"

Mr Richmond confirmed he had.

Jurors have heard that Sexton and Smith blame each other for inflicting the fatal blow on Mr Soons with a screwdriver.

Yesterday, Smith told the court he had convictions for assaulting former girlfriends.

He said the only time he carried a screwdriver was when he was out stealing cars and described himself as a "professional" stealing to order.

Sexton, of Moors Avenue, Cheltenham, denies murder but admits one charge of robbery.

Smith, of Fairview Road, Cheltenham, denies murder and robbery.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow, when closing speeches will begin.

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