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Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 19:50 GMT
Six deny bridge student murder

hungerford bridge The men went over the side of Hungerford Bridge


A gang of six young people have denied murdering a law student and attempting to murder his friend by hurling them over a bridge.

Timothy Baxter, 24, and Gabriel Cornish, 25, were mugged, beaten unconscious and thrown into the River Thames, the Old Bailey heard.

Five males and a girl of 16 joined in the attack, on Hungerford Bridge in London, last June, the court was told.

The gang left Mr Baxter and Mr Cornish, both unconscious, to drown in the water 40ft below the bridge, said prosecutor Nigel Sweeney.

"None of them did a thing to help the two men in the water," said Mr Sweeney.

Juveniles

Mr Baxter's body was found in the Thames the next day.

Mr Cornish was swept towards Westminster Bridge, where he regained consciousness. He was pulled out of the water by two policemen, said Mr Sweeney.

Sonni Reid, 20, John Riches, 22, Cyrus Cameron, 18, all of no fixed address, and south London juveniles aged 17, 15, and 16, pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Baxter and the attempted murder of Mr Cornish.

Reid, Riches and the 17-year-old also deny attempting to rob the students.

In addition, the three deny assaulting and stealing a mobile phone and other items from Matthew Reynolds, 22, as he watched the sunrise at the Embankment that day.

Head blows

Mr Sweeney said Mr Baxter, a skateboard enthusiast, and Mr Cornish, a music student, had spent the evening drinking with friends.

He said that as they crossed the bridge, the pair were approached by Riches, Reid and the 17-year-old, who attempted to rob them.

The youth allegedly threatened to throw Mr Cornish into the river.

By coincidence, the other three defendants - who knew the first trio - walked onto the bridge from the opposite side and were asked to help.

They all joined in the attack and struck the men around the head and neck before throwing them over the bridge, Mr Sweeney said.

He said all six either slept rough in the Leicester Square area or socialised with homeless people there.

The trial continues on Thursday.

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