Dele murder trial: Friend describes accused as a 'gentleman'

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Winchester Chief Reporter

AN alleged murderer was a former public schoolboy who was "kind, generous, open-hearted, honest, polite, a gentleman", a court has been told.

Jurors at Winchester Crown Court heard that Aaron Roche was a former pupil at two of Hampshire's top independent schools.

Roche, 21, is accused of fatally stabbing Dele Little, 15, of Powell Crescent, Totton, in a fight at West Totton Centre in March this year.

Roche, a ground worker, formerly of Ringwood Road, Lyndhurst, denies murder.

Character witness Justine Le Maistre said she has known Roche for eight years since she was a pupil at The Atherley school and he was at The Gregg School in Townhill Park, Southampton.

Later they both attended Embley Park School near Romsey, she told the court.

Miss Le Maistre, 20, who now lives in Chertsey, Surrey, said he was "kind, generous, open-hearted, honest, polite, a gentleman".

She said: "We saw each other every day at Embley Park. We have the same taste in music, skating, that kind of thing. I enjoy his company."

Miss Le Maistre said she had never known Roche be violent.

Alistair Williams, from Basingstoke, also attended Embley Park and said Roche was a "very good friend".

He said Roche was someone to walk away from violence. "He tends to sulk, get in a strop and walk off. He won't engage, he will just leave it."

Cross-examined by Christopher Parker QC, prosecuting, he added: "He won't go looking for a fight. If something kicks off, he does leave."

The jury also heard from a senior doctor, Dr David Balfour, a GP in Lyndhurst who is also clinical director of Hampshire Primary Care Trust.

Dr Balfour said: "I have known Aaron since he was born. I have known his family for about 30 years, as a GP and also a friendship developed over that period of time.

"He's always been fairly quiet, unfailingly polite and never shown any indications of antisocial or violent behaviour."

Asked by James Leonard, defending, whether he had any concerns about Roche, Dr Balfour replied: "From the point of view of his character, no, none at all."

Proceeding.

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