Judge warns of social media risk to fair trial of Bodmin murder accused

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A judge has warned that public commentary and misleading reporting could risk prejudicing the future trial of a man accused of murder following an incident near a nightclub in Cornwall.

Jake Hill, 24, of Jubilee Terrace, Bodmin, is charged with murdering Michael Allen, 32, close to the Eclipse nightclub on Victoria Square in the town in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Hill is also charged with three counts of attempted murder and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The defendant appeared before Truro Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and was due to appear before Truro Crown Court on Thursday morning but was not produced from custody.

Michael Allen died at the scene (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Michael Allen died at the scene (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

The judge gave a warning about comments on social media and press reports about the case, which he said could be reported by the media.

He said: “It has come to my attention that there has been some both irresponsible and misleading reports of this case already.

“There has also been a large amount of social media commentary about it.

“I want to reiterate a plea made by the police at a very early stage of the investigation.

“Can people please refrain from making public comments about this case.

“The sort of reporting and comment that there has been about this case is capable of prejudicing a future trial.”

The judge said it was a Cornish case which should be tried at Truro Crown Court.

Devon and Cornwall Police were called to reports of a person with a knife and multiple people with suspected stab wounds near the nightclub at about 3.15am on Sunday.

Mr Allen died at the scene while seven other people sustained injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.

On Tuesday, police said six of those injured had been discharged and one remained in hospital following surgery.

In a statement issued through the force, Mr Allen’s family said: “Mike was simply a much-loved son, brother, grandson and uncle, who loved his dogs.

“His family would like to respectfully request privacy at this time.”

Anyone with any information is asked to report it to Devon and Cornwall Police on the Major Incident Public Reporting site, under Operation Limbas.

Hill, who is in custody, will next appear before Truro Crown Court at 10am on Friday.

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