A 50-year-old man died after his flesh was burned away when sulphuric acid was poured over him from head to foot in a revenge attack, a murder trial jury was told.
Barry Selby’s system was unable to cope with the stress of the attack and his vital organs failed, a jury at Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.
Mr Selby, was also shot in the legs – kneecapped – during the assault at his home in East Bowling, Bradford, last October.
Prosecutor Simon Myerson QC told the jury the motive appeared to be revenge or retaliation against Mr Selby’s son, Liam, and his associates.
He said there had been a series of violent incidents between two groups of men on the Holme Wood estate and that Liam Selby was a member of one of them.
The other group included Lee Calvert, who is among four men accused of murdering Mr Selby.
Calvert, 23, of Stirling Crescent, Holme Wood; Joseph Lowther, 22, of Copgrove Road, Holme Wood; Robert Woodhead, 28, of Fred’s Place, Tyersal; and Andrew Feather, 23, of Heysham Drive, Holme Wood, all plead not guilty to murder. They also deny charges of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Calvert’s girlfriend, Natasha Wall, 24, of Stirling Crescent, pleads not guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Mr Myerson told the jury they could find the manner of Mr Selby’s death “shocking and upsetting”.
“The prosecution says that the four men in the dock acted jointly to break into Barry Selby’s house, shoot him in the left leg, with the bullet going through the left leg and into the right leg, and then spray him with acid. They then left him. Barry Selby’s wife and daughter were present at the time,” he said.
Mr Myerson said that shortly after 2am on Monday, October 14, five men in a black Mitsubishi 4X4 truck went to Mr Selby’s house in Rayleigh Street and smashed open the front door. Three of them went upstairs.
Mr Selby told his wife Donna to stay out of the way, and she crouched between her bed and the wall.
Mr Myerson said: “His wife heard the sounds of him being beaten up and crying with pain.”
The prosecutor said one of the men went into the bedroom of Mr Selby’s daughter, Jade, and threw a liquid at her, which did not make contact, before the group left.
Mr Myerson said: “What these men had done is to shoot Barry Selby in the left leg. It was a kneecapping.
“They then doused his back from head to foot with acid. Police and paramedics who attended noticed a haze and a strong sulphurous smell and were themselves affected by the fumes.
“Mr Selby was covered in what looked like brown paint that paramedics correctly believed was acid. Unfortunately, without knowing the type of acid, the paramedics were unable to wash it away and just had to watch as it burned into Mr Selby’s back.”
He suffered 50 per cent acid burns to the back of his scalp, neck, back, the back of his thighs and the back of his right lower leg. He died four days later.
Mr Myerson said the bullet wounds would not have killed Mr Selby, but the acid “was another matter”.
“In Mr Selby’s case, the flesh from his neck, back, arms and legs had been burned away. Mr Selby’s system was simply unable to cope with the stress to which it was subjected, his heart and kidneys were affected and he died,” he said.
Mr Myerson claimed the four male defendants were involved in a shooting incident, four hours before the attack on Mr Selby, at a house in Farway, Holme Wood, belonging to friends of Liam Selby.
Five men, wearing balaclava masks and armed with guns, got out of a black Mitsubishi and fired shots at the front door and windows.
Mr Myerson said the prosecution could not say who held the guns used in the offences, or who doused Mr Selby with the acid.
But he added: “You can be sure that Calvert, Woodhead and Lowther were together during each of these offences and each knew that guns were present and were to be used at Farway, and that guns and acid were present and to be used at Rayleigh Street.
“If that is correct then it does not matter which one of these men actually pulled the trigger or sprayed, squirted or poured the acid.”
He said Feather drove the men away, in an effort to avoid detection, and stored the guns.
Wall allegedly lied about her boyfriend’s whereabouts at the relevant time.
The trial continues.