- Jock Palfreeman is currently in a Bulgarian jail in the capital of Sofia. Yesterday he lost his appeal against a 20-year prison sentence. Below is the closing summary presented by his father Simon at his trial in December 2009. It provides an alternative account of the events of December 2007 when Jock is accused of having committed murder “performed by hooligan motives” (Article 116 Bulgarian Criminal Code).
Dr Simon Palfreeman’s Closing Summary
December 2, 2009
We have to choose between two very different versions of what happened that night. Jock says that while performing a Good Samaritan act he was assaulted by a group of youths. The group maintain that there was absolutely no provocation and that they did not assault Jock in any serious way. Jock’s version is supported by multiple witnesses not associated with either the group or Jock, the CCTV footage, expert psychological report and commonsense. The prosecution relies almost entirely on evidence of the group and has simply ignored the existence of any other evidence to the contrary.
The prosecution would have us believe that Jock, a young man who has had a relaxing evening with friends suddenly and without provocation, runs over 100 metres, past others to viciously attack a group of young men (I will call them the group from now on), who are also enjoying a relaxing evening. He then proceeds to viciously attack the group to kill as many as he can. It is an incredible claim that must be backed up by strong and unequivocal proof. In the 19 months of this trial, however, the prosecution has failed to present one piece of evidence that would prove this motive of hooliganism.
When analysed logically, all the evidence confirms Jock’s innocence and shows Jock’s motive was to go to the aid of another young man being brutally assaulted by the same group. This was in fact a selfless and courageous act. In contrast, the motive of the group for lying about the true sequence of events that night was to hide their own criminal actions in assaulting both the young man and Jock.
The witnesses Georgiev (May 27, 2009), Tomov (September 25, 2008) and Nikolov (September 25, 2008) and the policemen Stoychev (October 13, 2009) and Tsonkov (March 26, 2009) have no reason to lie. Their evidence is consistent with each other and with the CCTV camera. On the other hand, the evidence presented by the group cannot be relied on. There are too many inconsistencies within individual testimonies and between members of the group. They have all changed their evidence from that originally given to the investigator. Their evidence is not supported by witnesses independent of the group and Jock.
It is noted in the case file that despite a request by the defence, the prosecutor denied Jock a chance to give his evidence before a judge prior to the start of the trial. This of course is the right of the prosecutor. The request was an indication of the confidence of the defence that Jock had nothing to hide and was always telling the truth. In fact Jock’s story is still the same as the one he gave at his bail hearing on December 31, 2007. There can be no suggestion that he has made up this story since the beginning of the trial.
From a detailed analysis of the evidence, four very clear facts emerge from the evidence heard by this court.
• There was a severe assault by a group of men on an individual 10 metres from the entrance to the Serdika Metro Station.
• There was a second assault by the same group on an individual around the kiosk on the corner of Stambolynski Boulevard. This started almost 2 minutes after and over 100 metres from, the first assault and 5 minutes before Andrei Monov falls on the road.
• The group of boys (with their love of the Levski Football Club as a common bond) have consistently lied to avoid their responsibility for starting the violence that led to the death of Andrei Monov.
• The initial investigation into this incident was flawed and biased.
I will outline the evidence from the court transcripts that supports these facts. The first main point is that the first assault at the subway Serdika entrance establishes the true motive for Jock approaching the group and also shows the group members lied to cover up their actions. Two witnesses Georgiev and Tomov clearly describe the group of boys singing Levski songs and proceeding towards Stambolynski Boulevard then turning and chasing an individual to within 10 metres of the subway entrance and severely beating him.
These witnesses have no association with either the group or the defendant and had no reason to lie. They had clear visibility at only 50 metres away and could even hear Jock speak in English. They gave consistent stories from their first interviews with the investigator. They are very clear where the assault occurred and that it was separate from the second assault at the kiosk. The prosecution has given us no evidence to doubt their story.
Jock (July 2, 2009) states that he saw the group chase an individual to the subway and start to assault him. Jock then went to his aid. This evidence has remained consistent from the first interview with the investigator.
Witness Nikolov stated he saw the group run towards the subway shouting “Hey Mango”. Two policemen, Stoychev and Tsonkov stated that on the night they were told by their colleagues and the group of youths themselves that the group had attacked a Roma before the defendant came to help him. In the subsequent fighting two boys were wounded. Another policeman (Apostolov, October 13, 2008), states that Jock did not talk to anyone at the scene. So these policemen were reporting what other witnesses (including from the group) had told them that night. The prosecutor has presented evidence to contradict these three policemen.
While mostly we cannot identify individuals in the CCTV, we can see definite general movements and time them. The CCTV expert report states that a group of men ran towards the subway. This report allows timing of the events. There is approximately 1 minute 47 seconds between this first assault and the second assault at the kiosk, and coincides with the times mentioned by Georgiev and Tomov. There is a single man seen running after the group towards the subway approximately 30 seconds later. This would correspond to Jock running after them.
Even members of the group give evidence that they ran to a confrontation with an individual at the subway entrance. They then say, with a lot of confused answers, that there was only a verbal argument. This is entirely inconsistent with the independent evidence of Georgiev and Tomov. Many of these men (from the group) have changed their stories from their original statements. Also there are many other inconsistencies in the group’s evidence which will be detailed later. Having seen the CCTV we now know at least 12 men ran aggressively to the subway. Did they look like they were going to a simple, verbal argument?
The only conclusion from this evidence is that a severe assault by the group against an individual person occurred 5 minutes before the death of Monov and over 100 metres away.
By not explaining all this evidence the prosecution case loses all credibility. Both the prosecution and the group deny any physical assault at the subway. Yet we have two witnesses (independent of Jock or the group) who describe in detail a vicious attack on a man who has been thrown to the ground 10 metres from the subway and two minutes before the fight at the kiosk. Who is this person being assaulted? The group deny assaulting Jock at anytime and yet admit chasing a “stranger” to the subway. From multiple sources (policemen, Jock, Nikolov) we know that this man was a Roma. The prosecution has given no evidence, other than that from the group, to prove this assault did not occur. This evidence cannot be dismissed as “simple confusion”. Whether the person being beaten is Jock or the Roma, we know the event occurred before the conflict between Jock and the group and well before the witnesses Stoilov and Trifanov say they saw the wounding of Monov and Zahariev. This fact alone shows the group lied and the prosecution has used their lies to make her case. If we read the testimonies of Georgiev and Jock side-by-side we see that they are almost identical. The only difference is the mistaken assumption by Georgiev that the man who was chased to the subway and beaten was the same man who stood up and spoke English. From all other supporting evidence we now know it was not Jock who was chased but that he followed the group. He knelt down by the beaten boy and then stood up. It was assumed to be the same person by the observers at the Sheraton because they could not identify individuals in the violent melee. It should also be clear to everyone in this court that the similarity of the testimonies of Jock and Georgiev cannot be dismissed as coincidence or collusion. The prosecution has shown no evidence to doubt Georgiev’s testimony.
The second important fact is that there was a subsequent, separate assault which occurred while the group was moving from the subway to an area in front of the kiosk at the corner of Stambolynski Boulevard. The witness Georgiev states very clearly “There were two incidents in which the youths beat the boy – one at the underground, the other at Stambolynski” and “at the corner of Stambolynski they all surrounded him – the whole group”. During this assault Jock was surrounded and attacked by a large, drunk and violent group. He feared for his life and his actions during this second assault were in self defence.
Two witnesses not associated with either the group or defendant (Georgiev and Nikolov) describe in detail how the group had surrounded Jock and were punching, kicking and throwing large concrete tiles at him. Georgiev describes him being hit on the head and that he was knocked down.
While it is difficult to see detail it is clear from the CCTV that it was Jock not the group that was unable to escape. It is clearly seen that multiple men were running in and out of the melee from Stambolynski Blvd, St Nedelya St and the pedestrian area towards Bulbank. The CCTV report (expert witness) shows this beating lasted 1 minute 55 seconds before the wounding of Monov. It also shows that there was great violence which included punching, kicking and throwing. This violence towards Jock started well before Zahariev and Monov were wounded.
Jock himself describes how, after the initial attack on him he kept them all away from him as they moved from the subway to the kiosk, he was then surrounded and knocked to the ground. He gives a chilling description of how he thought he was going to die. His wounds along the left forearm confirm his attempt to defend against concrete blocks thrown by the group. The residual tingling in his fingers is the result of injury to the ulna nerve.
Witnesses Zahariev (May 21, 2008) and Stoilov (May 21, 2008) describe Jock swinging the knife from side-to-side. Stoilov even says “He advanced on everyone who was closes [sic] to him to [sic] exactly to hurt them more to scare them”. Stoilov also said Jock was shouting “Nazad, Nazad”. This is entirely consistent with Jock’s evidence that he was trying to scare the group and prevent them attacking him.
It must also be noted that Jock did not draw the knife until after he had run the 100 metres, knelt beside the man on the ground and then found himself attacked. This is confirmed by the witnesses Georgiev and Tomov. Tomov says “The first time I saw the knife was after they had beaten him”. Georgiev states “The boy took the knife out a little time after they had him on the ground in front of the underground Serdika, after he stood up and took out a knife”. This shows, contrary to the prosecutor’s allegation, that Jock did not run to the subway with the intent to cause injury. The knife was not produced until he himself was attacked.
During the violent attack at the kiosk, while Jock is desperately trying to make the boys move away, he is knocked to the ground (confirmed by witness Georgiev and Jock). Dazed and terrified he gets up. Group members are surrounding and rushing in on him. During this time two boys are wounded. The CCTV footage shows a man who cannot be definitely identified by his face, coming into the group while they have surrounded and are assaulting Jock. This man subsequently falls on the road away from the fighting. From all the available eye witness evidence only one man can be identified as falling onto the road at this point and not getting up. This is Andrei Monov. This confirms that Monov made a conscious decision to join the attack against Jock.
The forensic evidence also shows that there is considerable doubt about the prosecutor’s allegations. We know that a pathologist is limited in what they can tell from simple examination and that the same data can support multiple scenarios. The expert has stated that Zahariev’s wound is consistent with a slash and a wound that could be accidentally received as many bodies are violently moving against each other. Zahariev’s DNA is not on the knife. With the extreme sensitivity of DNA testing the absence of Zahariev’s blood has not been explained by the prosecution. The group was not searched for weapons. There is no definite proof that Jock’s knife inflicted this wound and that it was not accidentally caused by one of Zahariev’s friends.
It is a well established fact in all textbooks that pathologists cannot give absolute evidence as to how much force was used in a knife wound, the direction of the knife or the position of the persons involved.
Even though the expert pathologist stated that it was a forceful blow, he also admitted that this was a subjective analysis and that there could be variation due to the actual measurement, measuring in the supine position and movement of organs within the body during the fighting. He noted that the sharpness of the knife and “kinetic energy” are both important facts in how deep the wound is. We know the knife had a sharp tip and we know that total kinetic energy is the sum of that of two objects colliding. From all of this we can see that there is doubt as to what really happened.
The expert claims that there was little movement of the knife within the wound. All this means is that the knife could have gone in and out quickly. This is still compatible with a knife being swung side-to-side in defence and Andrei Monov running into the blow.
The expert claims that the arm only needed to be lifted a small angle to receive the blow depending on the relative positions of the bodies. The evidence from the witness Stoilov states they were facing each other. Andrei Monov was even talking to Jock. The wound is high and towards the back of the armpit. Andrei had to have his arm held up at least to the level of his shoulder. Why was it so high? Was he trying to throw something?
While the pathologist failed to elaborate, the expert report states that Andrei Monov was severely affected by alcohol. From this we can presume that a young man not habituated to alcohol would have had significant difficulty in keeping his balance.
What happened during those two minutes is confused. What we do know, however, was that 15 men surrounded one man. There was great violence, which included throwing concrete blocks. This was directed at one individual – Jock. This is supported by evidence from Georgiev, Nikolov, CCTV and Jock. The group was very drunk. There can be no doubt that anyone in Jock’s situation would be terrified.
This court has been asked to choose between two versions of that night’s events. In the first, Jock says he had only thoughts of self defence when knocked to the ground. The second is from the group, who say there was no assault at the subway and Jock had no reason to confront them.
Using both logic and commonsense there really can be no doubt, as to which is the most believable version for the following reasons:
• In the description of the fighting the group all claim they were not close to Jock or violently attacking him. From the CCTV we know that the group were surrounding Jock with space between them all. They were continually running in towards him and then out again. Each of those men would have been closely watching Jock as he had a knife and because they wanted to hit him. There was good light. They say they could clearly see him and were even trying to reason with him. Despite all of this, only one man saw Jock advance on Zahariev who then turns and falls. Only two men saw Jock deliberately advance on Monov to stab him. It is not believable that these two witnesses so clearly saw what happened and yet not one of the other up to 15 participants did.
• Members of the group have stated under specific questioning that they did not surround Jock or swear at him. They claim they attempted to throw things at him but could not hit him. They claim they broke up the large tiles to throw small stones at him. They claim that Jock (one man) had trapped them so they could not escape. These claims are all not only unbelievable they are contradicted by other evidence. From the witness Georgiev and Nikolov as well as the CCTV we know that there was a violent confrontation and Jock was knocked to the ground and got up. We know that large concrete blocks from near the kiosk were thrown, whole, at Jock. Despite the group’s claims to the contrary, we know from witnesses (Georgiev) and the CCTV that there was no obstacle for the group to leave and they deliberately chose to stay. The CCTV shows the group continually retreating then running in and out to attack Jock. The group’s actions are entirely consistent with an aggressive and violent gang rather than a group of frightened boys under relentless attack as they attempt to portray themselves.
• The third important point I need to make is that the prosecution has relied almost entirely on the evidence of the group to establish motive and the sequence of events. As we have already seen this evidence is full of inconsistencies and lies and is highly suggestive of collusion. In addition it is very specifically contradicted by other witnesses and CCTV.
We now know from eyewitnesses and CCTV that the group sang Levski songs, [and] at least two were very drunk. A man consistent with Roma [?] was violently attacked at the subway and Jock was surrounded by the group and violently assaulted. The group however deny all of these despite specific questioning. Here are just some quotes from the group’s testimonies that show some of the inconsistencies and outright lies. These quotes indicate the extent to which the group was prepared to go to cover up their crimes.
[Group members’ testimony]
Yordanov — Group member. A key witness as he was with Andrei Monov, Dimov and Zahariev when the altercation with the unknown persons.
All other witnesses claim that the two unknown persons, in the first violent incident, were “boys”, the same age as themselves or could not describe them at all and that the exchange of words went for over 1 minute. Yordanov states that they were middle-aged, not from minority and the exchange lasted 10 seconds. Despite many witnesses (the boys themselves and independent witnesses) describing 5-6 boys running down to the subway to help Tony he says no one came to help. The CCTV shows up to 12 boys aggressively running to help him. Tony says both men went off to Zum (the shopping mall) yet the CCTV footage shows at least one going back to the church St Nedelyia.
Trifonov — Group member. Another key witness as he says he saw the wounding of Monov.
Despite claiming that there was good light, being right in the middle of the action (he was standing at the kiosk) and able to describe in detail the defendant attacking his friends, he did not see or hear an earlier altercation between Tony and strangers. This was the altercation that all the remaining group, even those further away at Happy restaurant, could hear and see at the subway and actually ran past him to chase the man. Trifanov says that the group was singing “Shumi Maritsa”. He also describes clothing Jock was wearing which was actually covered up at the time and the description could have only have come from the police after the event. This witness was the most confused and unreliable of all the witnesses.
Zahariev — Group member. This witness is also one of the civil claimants. Here are some of the things he said. They show very little similarity to the evidence of Georgiev, Tomov, Nikolov and the CCTV.
• “There had been no punches between these boys and our group… No hitting took place.”
• “The defendant was shouting hiade haide and no fascism” and yet the witness Stoilov reported the defendant said nazad nazad (back off, back off). Zahariev has lied hoping to ascribe a motive of aggression to Jock. A motive originally put forward by the prosecutor. It is interesting that he did not mention this in his first statement of 28th December 2007.
• “We simply tried to run away from the defendant.”
• “While we were going to the disco we were talking, I don’t remember singing”.
• “I don’t remember there being acts of aggression against the defendant on our part. We were about 15 people” and “No one tried to stop the defendant, we only tried to avoid his thrusts. I did not see at any point our group of people surrounding the defendant.”
It is clear that Zahariev has tried very hard to cover up the truth and hide his own criminal actions.
Zahariev was specifically asked during this trial if he had previously told the investigator that there was a physical fight between the group and Roma. He denied this! The civil claimants (Zahariev and the Monovs) and the prosecutor used their power to block the reading of his original signed statement, so the court was unable to confirm his denial. This exposes a conflict of interest when a participant in a crime can block his own critical evidence, given at the time of the events, from being properly examined.
Stoilov — Group member. A key witness as he claims he saw the wounding of Zahariev and Monov. He said:
• “When we left the subway, we might have talked in a loud voice but there was no songs or slogans. I can say about myself I am a Levski fan.”
• “We started running towards them and the man who was close to Tony saw that there were a lot of us and ran away together with the other man” … “In the argument between the two strangers and Tony I didn’t see one of them being close to anyone…”
• “I did not throw anything…”
Dimov — Group member. Says:
• “No one was drunk.” (His best friend Andrei Monov was 2.9 promille.)
• “I saw no one attacking him (Jock) from behind.”
• “When we came back these boys had already left.”
• “With the two strangers there was only an argument, no physical contact.”
Aleksiev (group member) says:
“The others did not have much alcohol”.
“The first time i saw him was next to the kiosk for tickets and cards”.
This is totally inconsistent with the known facts. This witness by his own admission was in the last group, therefore in the middle of the scene and well able to see what was happening and yet every other witness, group members, independent witnesses and CCTV confirms that the first contact between Jock and the group was at the subway almost 100 metres away. He goes on to say:
“I threw a tile at him. It was normal size. I broke it into pieces smaller than a fist. I couldn’t hit the defendant… No one attacked the defendant in the back… I didn’t see anyone kicking or pushing the police car. No one had physical contact with the blonde girl…”
Velevski — Group member.
“In the restaurant we drank alcohol, but not much alcohol” and “…on the way we weren’t chanting.”
“It was a normal argument… The two strangers left when the arguments was over.”
He states that he did not run down to help his friends with the strangers “I can’t say if anyone from our group went after the strangers” and yet we know he did from the evidence of his friends Gecheva, who said “They (Vasil and Antoan) went back to the others” (Transcript 9 July 2008) Nikolay Arabadzhiev (group member, Transcript 9 July 2008)
This witness was specifically asked if he had ever told the investigator that the 2 unknown persons confronted by the group were Roma. He denied this. The civil claimants and the prosecutor used their power to block reading of his original statement, so the court was not able to confirm his denial.
Alexander Donev (group member, Transcript 25 September 2008)
This witness was specifically asked if he had told the investigator “At Bulbank there was an altercation between Andrei and some gypsies”. They said “death to Bulgarians”. The civil claimants and prosecutor used their power to block reading of his original statement so the court was not able to confirm his denial.
From all this evidence we can see that the group of youths was 15-20 strong. They had been drinking for 4 hours and were drunk with some severely affected. They were predominantly together as fans of the Levski football club and were singing Levski football songs. The evidence supports the groups being in two separate violent incidents where they acted together against individuals.
The witnesses from the group lied in response to the same questions (many changing their evidence from their original signed statements). This evidence related to being drunk, singing Levski songs, attacking a Roma and attacking Jock. It is quite apparent that they knew that if the truth came out they would be seen as violent, drunk, football hooligans. No one can believe their story that they were just trying to get away from Jock, threw things to scare Jock and did not want to hurt Jock. When asked if the 2 strangers were Roma they said no. They could not however describe them, or understand what they were saying or even what language they were using. Yet they claim there was an argument with Tony for over one minute.
From the expert witness on the CCTV we know that at least 12 men ran aggressively out of sight towards the subway. In this court only 7 admit running towards the subway. Where are the others?
Who is lying?
From the evidence given by the group we can reconstruct the movements of the group. Getcheva, Velevska, Valevski, Arabadzhiev, Petrov, Stoilov, Karlov and Dimov were in the first group and had reached Happy restaurant. Trifanov had reached the kiosk to buy cigarettes. Donev, Aleksiev and Zahariev were next and coming last were Yordanov and Monov. It was Yordanov and Monov that initiated the confrontation with the 2 unknown persons (this is confirmed by the group’s own evidence eg. Yordanov, Stoilov, Trifanov and Aleksiev) which led to the tragic outcome.
After Jock was detained it could be suggested that the group would be angry and demanding justice, having just witnessed the severe injury of a friend. The degree of violent behavior, however, as described by the police after Jock’s detention (attempts to harm Jock when detained, attacking the police and violently kicking a girl, Lindsey Welch) confirm a significant culture of violent behavior within the group.
The special psychological report on the group said that they could find no evidence that the group displayed the characteristics of ‘football hooligans’. We now know that this report was based mainly on the evidence from the group. The experts did not read Jock’s story and chose to ignore other evidence, as did the prosecutor, because as they said “there was some disagreement between the witnesses”. In particular, the experts did not read the testimony of Doychev that mentioned how the group had called Jock “chorba” while trying to attack him. They did not use the testimony of Georgiev or Tomov who said they were singing Levski songs. They did not see the CCTV or take into account the testimony of Nikolov who said they shouted “Hey Mango” as they ran to the subway. As we know, the group’s testimony was full of lies and any report relying predominately on their evidence has to be treated with caution.
Jock gives a detailed description of what happened that night. This description has not changed from what he told the police on the night and in subsequent interviews. All the details of his story could be corroborated by eye witnesses or CCTV. In contrast, the evidence of the group has changed over time and cannot be corroborated in key details by other eye witnesses or CCTV.
The fourth important point I would now like to discuss is the flawed and biased investigation which has been extremely prejudicial to Jock’s defence. From the beginning, the prosecution team ignored the possibility of an assault on a third party, possibly Roma by the group. This was despite evidence from the group (original statements), their own policemen (original statements) and Jock. Because of this:
• The area near the subway was not established as a crime scene. Possible blood and DNA evidence was lost.
• The concrete blocks were not retained as evidence.
• The Roma men were never investigated even though in the indictment the prosecutor called the strangers Roma.
• Group members were not searched for weapons.
• Other than the wounded boys, no one else in the group was tested for alcohol or drugs.
• Several eye-witnesses were not interviewed before submitting the file to the court. This occurred despite the prosecution knowing that they existed. These witnesses include Lindsay Welsh, Kirril Kiskimov, Emil Yankov, Georgi Angelov. On the CCTV there were more men seen than eventually interviewed. Sixteen youths form the group were interviewed. Three were already at the Solo nightclub. Two were girls who said they stayed at Happy Restaurant. That leaves only 11 youths and of those, only 7 admit running down. Interviewing these witnesses may have persuaded the prosecutor to more actively pursue the truth of Jock’s story.
Key witnesses were never found. The two men who detained Jock and spoke to the police who came to the scene. The 2 Roma men involved in the confrontation with the group. The woman seen on the CCTV watching from the Sheraton hotel.
Critical CCTV footage was not obtained. The prosecutor stated that the ministry of health CCTV would not have shown anything even if retrieved. We now know from Georgi Angelov that the cameras recorded both the area in front of the subway and the kiosk. This then was critical evidence. The saga of the missing CCTV is almost unbelievable. Firstly through delay by the prosecutor the file was deleted. The electrical fault had corrupted the hard disk. A final attempt was also made by this court to examine the hard disk. Strangely the whole system has disappeared. It is disturbing that Angelov (the duty doctor) has stated that someone came and looked at the CCTV next morning. Who was that? What did they see? Is this why the whole system disappeared?
In an interview with the media the prosecutor gave the name of 2 witnesses. One of these asked before a judge that his name be kept from the media as he was frightened. This witness was the only one of Jock’s friends present during the assaults to be interviewed during the investigation and I believe his court testimony was compromised by his fear. We all witnessed his behaviour in court.
When a request to this court was made to read out key, signed witness statements supporting Jock and collected by the investigator, the prosecutor used her power to block this. What reason could she have for doing this? Surely all evidence should be put forward and its relevance determined by the court. These witnesses included 3 policemen (Lyubenov, Katsarov, and Stoyadinova (14 October 2008)) who originally claimed that on the night they heard information that was the same as Jock’s story. There were also 4 witnesses from the group of youths who changed their stories.
It is most unusual that in the material evidence no personal effects of Andrei Monov were recorded. He would surely have his wallet and identification card (to access bars). What was in the wallet? Could there have been a membership card for Levski South Side Fan Club? This would certainly have confirmed an association with a group known for violence. We will never know.
I believe that there has been a breach of Jock’s human rights. Specifically Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Articles 47 and 48 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This breach includes:
• the poor investigation;
• the failure to include all relevant evidence, especially the original signed witness statements;
• the joining of Zahariev as a civil claimant when he was also a participant in the violence and a key witness.
In summary, the prosecution has to establish without any doubt a motive for her accusations. The prosecution has had to resort to the motive of hooliganism to explain her versions of events in the absence of any other evidence supporting her view. I am close to my son and know him well. He comes from a large, strong and morally upright family. Combined with a good Christian education, this has encouraged Jock to grow into a young man with firm values of social justice, the worth of every human being and respect for social order. His strong belief in, and desire to defend justice and social order was behind his decision to join the British army. He is a good-natured man with a lively sense of humor. He makes friends easily. The presence of so many loyal friends and family from Sofia, Samakov, the UK and Australia in the courtroom throughout this trial is a testament to his character.
I am particularly proud of the way he has conducted himself throughout this trial, when so many witnesses were so obviously lying in an attempt to keep him in prison. My opinion of Jock is completely supported by the expert psychological report that confirms this impression of a man with a strong sense of social justice and a non violent character. The character reference presented to the court confirm this in all aspects of Jock’s life. His school wrote “He displayed a strong interest and commitment to socials justice” and “he would go out of his way to help others”. One of his employers wrote “Mr Palfreeman does not have an inherently aggressive or threatening manner or approach to people. This is what makes the reports of the 28 December incident so incredible and seem so out of character for Mr Palfreeman.” The father of the Bulgarian family that Jock lived with (an ex-Bulgarian air force pilot) also provided a reference. He stated that Jock was reliable, not aggressive and a good friend to the family.
From the first night in the police station, throughout the investigation period and giving evidence in front of this court, Jock has not changed his story. This is because it is the truth. It is clear from Jock’s history, the expert psychological report and his conduct in court that Jock is not the homicidal hooligan the prosecutor has tried to portray.
From the evidence we are now able to attach the real motives to all the events that happened that night. The initial motive was the assault on a Roma man by this gang, initiated by Monov and Yordanov. This was a racially motivated attack. All of this gang should be held responsible for the tragic outcome and for their subsequent attempt to hide the truth with lies (they could be charged under Article 163). The motive for Jock’s involvement was initially to help the Roma man and then defend himself. This was an act that can only be described as heroic. While as a parent, I would have preferred he stayed safe, as a human being I am proud that a young man would try to help another person despite such dangerous circumstances.
There can be no doubt that when the group (initiated by Yordanov and Monov) attacked the Roma boys, someone was going to be seriously or mortally wounded. It could have been Jock, the Roma boy or as it happened 2 from the group.
I am also in no doubt that the subsequent events that led to such a tragic end were the result of the vicious attack by the gang on Jock and his justified self defense. This gang made a determined and conscious decision to assault Jock that night, using their superior numbers and large concrete tiles as weapons. They did this because he dared to confront them and prevented severe injury to the Roma man. They left him no choice but to defend himself.
What happened on that evening of 27th Dec 2007 was a tragedy. As I am also a parent I can understand and respect the grief being experienced by the Monov family and would like to express my sorrow for their loss. As a family we too have suffered with Jock being in prison for almost 2 years. It would only make this tragedy worse if the truth of what happened that night was ignored and another young life lost.
I would like the court to free my son on the basis that all his actions that night were motivated by a genuine desire to help another human being in mortal danger. There was no intention to hurt anyone. He then, in a state of severe fear, had to defend himself when he, too, became the victim of this violent gang.