Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 18:16 UK

Plea to murder accused in court

Dano Sonnex (left) and Nigel Farmer
Both men deny murder, arson, false imprisonment and perverting justice

A man accused of murdering two French students in a south London flat was asked in court if he could offer a "crumb of comfort" to their parents.

Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, told Dano Sonnex the parents of Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo were "hanging on his every word".

On Monday Mr Sonnex changed his story and said he had helped his co-accused to tie them up before they were killed.

Mr Sonnex and Nigel Farmer deny murdering the pair in New Cross.

'Off his nut'

Mr Sonnex claimed he left "his friend" with them during the incident and only later discovered they had been murdered.

Mr Sonnex told the Old Bailey that when he returned to the flat he asked his friend "what... has happened here?" He said Mr Farmer, who was "off his nut" on drugs, was hissing and muttering "this is naughty".

Mr Aylett asked Mr Sonnex if he could offer the dead men's parents any more information about their last moments alive.

He said: "Of the four of you in that room, two are dead and Farmer has denied being in that room. Is there any crumb of comfort you can offer them?"

"No, not at all," he replied.

Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo
Students Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo were tied up and stabbed

Mr Aylett asked him if the Frenchmen were frightened. Mr Sonnex replied: "I would assume so." He said they were both calm and complied with instructions to hand over their pin numbers.

Mr Aylett asked him why, if he returned later to find them dead, he had not asked Mr Farmer why he had killed them. Mr Sonnex clearly could not remember specifically whether he had asked that question.

Mr Sonnex has admitted burgling the flat but has denied murder and false imprisonment. But on Wednesday he admitted that, having now changed his story, he was effectively admitting false imprisonment.

Mr Aylett said that the French students were co-operating and probably expected they would be left unharmed by the robbers.

But he said: "What they did not reckon for is two people off their heads on a combination of drugs and drink egging each other on to greater levels of violence."

Mr Sonnex replied "I didn't kill no-one."

The trial continues.

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