Don Banfield trial: witness says he saw missing bookie after disappearance
Published: 29 March 2012
by DAVID St GEORGE
A FORMER Camden Council official and her mother have repeatedly denied in court that they killed and disposed of the body of Hampstead bookie Don Banfield.
The 63-year-old, who was father and husband of the accused women, managed William Hill’s branch in Hampstead High Street for many years before his retirement in 2000.
In May the following year he “vanished from the face of the Earth”, said prosecutors Crispin Aylett, QC, and Louis Mabley at the Old Bailey.
Although no trace of Mr Banfield (pictured) has been found despite a massive police investigation which included digging up several sites in London and elsewhere, the women in the dock, Lynette Banfield, 40, and Shirley Banfield, 64, face a murder charge which they strenuously contest.
Their QCs, Jeffrey Samuels, for ex-Camden housing officer Lynette Banfield, and William Clegg, for her mother, insist there is no evidence of the “death” of the victim, a known womaniser who often went missing.
He was also a compulsive gambler and had relatives in the Caribbean and the United States. His wife, a retired tax inspector, and daughter, a university graduate in social work, have confessed to milking Mr Banfield’s pensions.
They said they were desperate for money at the time and always believed he would return home to live with them.
He walked out on them on a Sunday morning in 2001 while the family were living at Locket Road, Harrow.
But Mr Clegg called a defence witness, healthcare manager Alan Strickland, who told the court he was “absolutely convinced” he had seen Mr Banfield in north London between 2005 and 2007 crossing a main road and heading for a betting shop.
The trial continues.