Abattoir worker 'killed co-worker who had been paying him for sex'

Ionut-Valentin Boboc, 21, and Jacob-Bebe Chers, 45, are on trial at Bristol Crown Court following the murder of Denzil McKenzie, 56

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Two former abattoir workers “tricked” their way into a co-worker’s house by telling them they had a “special gift” for him, before stabbing him to death and mutilating his body.

Ionut-Valentin Boboc, 21, and Jacob-Bebe Chers, 45, are on trial at Bristol Crown Court following the murder of Denzil McKenzie, 56, in Easton, Bristol, on September 11 last year.

They are also accused of killing and mutilating Fahad Hossain Pramanik, 27, who had been visiting Mr McKenzie at the time.

Chers, Boboc and Mr McKenzie had worked together at an abattoir outside of Bristol before the two defendants found new jobs at a carwash in the summer of 2021.

Boboc had previously had an arrangement with Mr McKenzie where he performed sex acts on him in exchange for cash, a jury heard.

The bodies of the victims were discovered in Mr McKenzie’s home at 20 Wood Street, laid out in a gruesome display in the living room, jurors were told on Wednesday.

One of the injuries inflicted on Mr Pramanik, a deep wound to his abdomen, is said to resemble the cuts Boboc and Chers would have made in their work butchering pigs.

On the night of the killing, Boboc sent Mr McKenzie a series of messages trying to persuade him to let him come over so he could give him “a present”.

Mr Pramanik was unknown to the two defendants, and is thought to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The jury were shown CCTV footage of Boboc and Chers walking towards the address at 8.30pm on the night of the killings, then coming back the same way at around 11pm.

On their return journey, they are carrying audio equipment stolen from Mr McKenzie’s house, as well as jewellery and electronics.

Prosecutor Kate Brunner QC said: “What they had left behind them was a scene of horror – the dead and mutilated bodies of Denzil McKenzie and Fahad Pramanik.”

Mr McKenzie had 23 knife wounds and he had been tortured with cuts to his eyeballs, around his eyes, and one of his big toenails had been cut away from the nail bed.

Mr Pramanik had been stabbed three times, including the gash to his stomach.

Some foaming substance forced into his nose, and he had multiple slash and scratch marks all over his body.

A bite mark matching Chers’ teeth was found on his arm.

The defendants then allegedly tried to clean up the scene by wiping blood off the walls and other surfaces, while thick black car paint had been sprayed on the two bodies and all around the house.

Message exchanges pieced together from Boboc and the first victim’s phones revealed Boboc had been asking to borrow money from Mr McKenzie since at least January 2019.

In one message to Boboc, Mr McKenzie said: “If I help you out with half (the money) will you help me out with some things?”

He added: “Just a little bit of something for something.”

When Boboc told him he wasn’t gay, Mr McKenzie replied: “If I am willing to help you, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to help me.”

Boboc eventually agreed to some sexual activity, Ms Brunner said, but warns the victim he would be hurt if he were to overstep the line.

The defendant said in a message to Mr McKenzie: “If you try something else with me, we whack you.”

He added: “If you try something else you will die.”

A message on Boboc’s phone from Mr McKenzie sent three months before he was killed read: “No, I don’t want your friend.”

On the day of the murders, Boboc sent a series of messages to Mr McKenzie asking him how he was and asking to come and visit him, with the victim apparently being reluctant.

Ms Brunner said Boboc was “not taking no for an answer”.

Boboc wrote: “I want to come to say goodbye and have a drink – I stay 10 minutes and after I leave.”

He added “I want to give you something,” saying in later messages “I want to talk about something important” and “it is a goodbye gift”.

When Mr McKenzie asked what the gift was, Boboc said: “No I’m coming to show you, you will like it.”

Ms Brunner said: “The prosecution’s case is that there was no special gift these defendants were going to give Mr McKenzie, these messages were their way of tricking Mr McKenzie into letting them into his house.”

The defendants were arrested when Boboc told his family what he and Chers had allegedly done.

Boboc, of Hillfields, Bristol, has admitted the murder of Mr McKenzie but denies murdering Mr Pramanik, while Chers, also of Hillfields, denies both murders.

The prosecutor warned the jury that much of the evidence was “deeply unpleasant” but reassured them they would not be shown photographs of the victims’ bodies or their injuries.

The two defendants were aided in the dock by a Romanian interpreter.