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The Defence Case

The Defence case was that Stafford and Luvaglio had an alibi. Their alibi was supported by Stafford's girlfriend, Selena Jones and two other women. 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 where he was seen just after 12:00 am by another witness - his next door neighbour.

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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 and saw the two men enter the club. The cabaret show had just finished and one of the entertainers bumped into Stafford as he was coming off the stage to the exit door. Stafford and Luvaglio spent some time at the bar. Witnesses agreed that they seemed calm and relaxed. Luvaglio even had a conversation with one of the kitchen staff, inquiring about her sick mother, as was reported in a statement taken from her. She said in her statement that Luvaglio was calm, in good spirits and didn't seem in any way nervous or agitated. He was dressed well and his clothes were spotless, unlike what one might expect of someone who had just committed a murder, dragged the victim through the mud in inclement weather. How could it be that their clothes were spotless although 45 minutes earlier - if the police account is right - they had been dragging a bleeding body over a wet and muddy road.

Later the men went upstairs for a bite to eat. Stafford noticed that he'd run out of cigarettes. He told Luvaglio that he had more cigarettes in the car and that he was going outside to get a fresh pack. Matthew Dean witnessed this. As Matthew told police, Stafford had gone out to his car, but then came straight back in and told Mr. Dean that his car had been hit. Mr. Dean went outside to inspect the car with Stafford. Stafford said the damage was caused while the car was parked outside the club. Mr. 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 was the very evidence that linked the E-Type with the murder car that ended up convicting Stafford and Luvaglio.

The statements of the 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.

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