The Case For The Defence

The Defence case was that Stafford and Luvaglio had an alibi
supported by several witnesses.
The men had been at Peterlee until 11:30 pm (not 11:00 pm as the police claimed) and when they left they Stafford’s home, they drove straight to Luvaglio’s home at Chelsea Grove in Newcastle to await a call from Majorca from Michael’s brother Vince.
In the event, Vince didn’t call but Michael was seen at the window and acknowledged just after 12:00 am by a witness – his next door neighbour.

They then left Chelsea Grove and drove on to the Birdcage Club to meet with Sibbett at 12:30 am as agreed earlier that day.
Matthew Dean who was on the door that night saw the two men
enter the club and one of the cabaret singers bumped into Stafford as he was coming off the stage to the exit door.
Stafford and Luvaglio spent some time at the bar and witnesses agreed that they seemed calm and relaxed.
Luvaglio had a conversation with one of the kitchen staff, who said in a statement that he was calm, in good spirits and didn’t seem in any way nervous or agitated.
He was dressed well and his clothes were spotless – an interesting observation as according to the Prosecution case,  just 45 minutes earlier he had been dragging a bleeding body over a wet and muddy road with Dennis Stafford.

It wasn’t unusual for Angus to be late for an appointment, but after an hour or so Luvaglio telephoned Angus’ girlfriend Doreen Hall to find out where he was. She hadn’t seen him since earlier in the evening though and didn’t know where he might be.

At around 1:45am both men went upstairs for a bite to eat.
Stafford noticed that he’d run out of cigarettes and told Luvaglio that he had more cigarettes in the car and that he was going outside to get a fresh pack.
Matthew Dean told police he had seen Stafford go out to his car, but then come straight back in to say that his car had been involved in an accident.
Dean went outside to inspect the car with Stafford.
Stafford said the damage was caused while the car was parked
outside the club.
Dean saw tracks in the snow leading up to the rear of the E-Type,
reversing and driving around the E-Type back on to the road.
Both men found some broken perspex lying in the snow by the
damaged vehicle.

Although the car was hit outside the club, the fact that the car was damaged that night and the subsequent discovery of glass and other debris in South Hetton was the very evidence that police linked the E-Type with Sibbet’s vehicle. Some say that it was this evidence alone that convicted them.

A short while later, when Sibbet still hadn’t shown up the two men eventually left the Birdcage Club and headed back to Stafford’s home in Peterlee.
They went via Chelsea Grove again, to see if any messages from Vince had been left with Brian Ginger, Michael’s cousin who also lived there. No messages had been left and so they returned to Peterlee.

The following morning they took the vehicle back to the garage they had collected it from the previous day and explained an accident had occurred outside the Birdcage Club. They wanted to have the
damage repaired before Landa came back from Majorca and so the garage owner had the vehicle taken to Roker Car Sprays in
Sunderland for this work to be carried out.

They then went to SCS offices, where news started to filter through. When confirmation came through that it was indeed Sibbet, Michael collapsed and Dennis eventually took him back to his home in
Peterlee, where he was given some medication and put to bed.

At around 10.20pm, police knocked on Stafford’s door and took the two men in for questioning.
Both men denied any involvement but were charged with Sibbet’s murder at 9.40pm the following day.
No forensic evidence linked the two men with the murder.
No fingerprints belonging to the two men were found in Sibbet’s
vehicle.
No weapon was found.

However, other prints were found that did not belong to Stafford or Luvaglio and blood was also found in Sibbet’s Mark X that did not belong to Stafford, Luvaglio or Sibbet.

Many statements from witnesses proving the innocence of the two men were never made available to the Defence for the 1967 trial, so the jury and judge were not presented with these statements which would have supported the Defence case.