Bodmin murder trial: Accused was acting like a man 'possessed' before stabbing partygoers

ITV News' Charlotte Gay has been following the trial at Truro Crown Court.

A witness who was stabbed on a night out in Bodmin has described the man at the centre of a murder trial as being like a man “possessed”.

Rhiannon Tompsett was one of the surviving victims on the night Michael Riddiough-Allen was killed outside the Eclipse nightclub on 30 April.

Miss Tompsett, who says knew defendant Jake Hill all her life, described the night in a police interview which was played back to the jury.

She said: “It was like he was possessed. It was like something came over him. It was weird.”

Miss Tompsett said she was dancing with Hill and other friends that night, and he had told her he had taken drugs and was acting like “a completely different person”. 

She said although she did not see the knife until after they had left the club she had warned nightclub security staff “four times” about Jake’s disposition but “wasn’t taken seriously”.

She said: “I begged security to remove Jake. Something was going to kick off. That man could have been stopped that night.”

Michael Riddiough-Allen died after he was fatally stabbed outside the Eclipse nightclub in Bodmin Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police/PA

The victim described the shock of seeing her friend act completely out of character.

“I didn’t expect it from him, I really didn’t," she said.

"But the worst bit about it was I knew it was him. It was him.”

She continued: “Jake wasn’t in a good place that night. No excuse for what he did to anyone that night. I am really disappointed he had a knife."

The witness talked about how Jake’s mother had “recently passed away” and that night he had split up with his long-term partner.

Last week, the prosecution told Truro Crown Court how the 25-year-old defendant stabbed six people in a matter of seconds outside the Eclipse nightclub with a serrated hunting knife.

Michael Riddiough-Allen was a keen rugby player. Credit: Family handout/ITV News

Mark Cotter KC, prosecuting, said Hill had joined a fight between 15 revellers outside the club shortly after 3am on 30 April last year.

Hill and his co-accused, Tia Taylor, 22, and Chelsea Powell, 22, had all been inside the club.

The court heard how a disturbance broke out between groups of people in the street after the venue closed.

Victims were either stabbed or slashed in the melee by Hill who had collected the blade from a nearby hedge where he had hidden it before entering the nightclub.

Mr Riddiough-Allen, 32, who was the fifth person to be stabbed, suffered a fatal wound to his abdomen and died at the scene.

In the brawl, Hill also allegedly injured Liam Phillips, Ryan Burger, Miss Tompsett and Stefan Williams.

A sixth person, Ryan Parsons, was knifed in the head as the three defendants left the scene, the court was told.

Tributes to Mr Allen left outside the Bodmin Rugby Club. Credit: ITV West Country

Mark Cotter KC told the jury the violence erupted as the three defendants were unsuccessfully attempting to catch a taxi after leaving the club.

While they were trying to organise the pick-up, disorder was breaking out in the street between various groups, including four or five women.

“The three defendants made their way into the general disorder and became embroiled in it,” Mr Cotter said.

“Following his entry into the disorder the prosecution allegation is that Jake Hill produced his knife and stabbed or slashed five people.

“Each of those individuals suffered a single wound. The prosecution further allege that Jake Hill as he left the scene stabbed a sixth person and again a single wound was inflicted.”

A forensic team investigating near the crime scene in Bodmin. Credit: ITV West Country

Mr Cotter said it was not possible to be certain in which order the first five people were stabbed.

“Save to say they were all inflicted within a matter of seconds of each other and the man who lost his life, Michael Riddiough-Allen, was the last person to be stabbed within that group of five,” he said.

“No witnesses saw any of the injured persons do anything to anyone, yet alone Jake Hill, that could explain why Jake Hill stabbed them.

“That initial burst of knife violence culminated in a struggle that took place between Jake Hill and Michael Riddiough-Allen.

“Mr Riddiough-Allen had become embroiled in the disorder as someone who was trying to separate the parties.

“He was unarmed and he confronted and struggled with Jake Hill and was, we say, simultaneously assaulted by Tia Taylor and Chelsea Powell.

“During that encounter Michael Riddiough-Allen was stabbed by Jake Hill in the abdomen.”

Court sketch of Jake Hill. Credit: Elizabeth Cook/PA

Mr Cotter added: “The prosecution case is that Jake Hill having entered the disorder became angry and violent.

“One witness, who saw some of the stabbings and the aftermath of others, described Jake Hill as being on a ‘knife rampage’.

“The prosecution case is that Jake Hill deliberately stabbed and slashed at individuals within the group and caused the various wounds and that when he did so he intended to kill or at the very least intended to cause really serious bodily harm.”

Jurors were told Taylor and Powell allegedly joined in on the attack on Mr Riddiough-Allen.

“The prosecution case is that by the time Jake Hill was beginning to struggle with Mr Riddiough-Allen they must have realised that he had a knife and was wielding it,” the prosecutor said.

“They had voluntarily, we say, inserted themselves into a violent environment and Tia Taylor and Chelsea Powell showed themselves as perfectly willing to participate in that violence when it was wholly unnecessary for them to do so.

“The prosecution case is that in joining Jake Hill’s knife attack on Michael Riddiough-Allen intended at least really serious bodily injury be caused to Michael Riddiough-Allen and assisted or encouraged Jake Hill in his attack on Michael Riddiough-Allen by backing him up and by inflicting blows to Mr Riddiough-Allen.”

  • CCTV showing the three accused on the morning of the attack

Mr Cotter said the allegations of attempting to pervert the course of justice against Taylor and Powell came from statements they gave to the police after the incident.

“The prosecution case is that Tia Taylor and Chelsea Powell both individually deliberately lied to the police as to events that evening in order to frustrate the police investigation,” he said.

Hill, of Jubilee Terrace, Bodmin, Cornwall, denies a total of 12 charges, including one count of murder and the alternative of manslaughter, three counts of attempted murder and the alternative of wounding with intent, and two charges of wounding with intent and the alternative of unlawful wounding.

Taylor, of Northey Road, Bodmin, denies three charges – one count of murder and the alternative of manslaughter, and one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Powell, of Granny’s Green, Bodmin, denies the same three charges as Taylor.

The trial continues.

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