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Man "helped double killer evade police"
A MAN gave double killer Christopher Line a safehouse for the night so he could evade police after blasting two Southend men to death, a court heard.
Lorry driver Michael Clinton, 42, is charged with perverting the course of justice by helping Line, formerly from Basildon, avoid arrest after he executed Shane Hill and David Castell with a shotgun on Willow Park caravan park in Suffolk in March last year.
Line, 29, was jailed for a minimum of 35 years in after being found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court of the slayings on a caravan pitch owned by his boss Sam Vinden, formerly from Crays Hill, in July.
Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterdaythat Line turned up at his friend Clinton’s home late in the evening of March 15 2011 saying he had “blown away” the victims.
Prosecuting, Karim Khalil QC, said rather than turn him away or call police, Clinton invited Line in and "took control".
Mr Khalil said: “He (Clinton) phoned Sam Vinden and they spoke for some 12 minutes about what to do. It was decided that Clinton would keep Christopher Line safely hidden during those crucial hours while the police were desperately searching for the killer.”
He said Clinton then put Line up for the night at his home in Church Close, Mildenhall, likely gave him a change of clothes, and also gave him a lift to Soham in the morning. He added: “This defendant was told by his friend Christopher Line that he had just committed a double murder. He can’t sensibly deny he must have known police would be looking for the murderer. Knowing what he knew, it can hardly be denied that to put him up and drop him off at a place of his choosing was helping him evade arrest.”
Clinton was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the murders on April 13 2011 and told police he was in the pub at the time of the murders and heard rumours about them, but had no knowledge of Line or Mr Vinden’s movements that night.
Clinton denies providing Line a change of clothes and maintains none of his actions intended to pervert the course of justice.
Mr Hill, 20, and Mr Castell, 29, went to Willow Park to set fire to caravans owned by Mr Vinden.
It was in connection with an ongoing feud between Mr Vinden and unnamed people from the Southend area.
However, Line, who lived with Mr Vinden was laying in wait for the pair.
The trial continues.