Dave West murder trial: Son feared business reputation had turned from ‘winners to losers’

The Old Bailey

The Old Bailey - Credit: Archant

An heir to a multi-million pound nightclub empire unleashed a “barrage of abuse” at his alcoholic father and stabbed him to death as the family fortunes teetered on the brink of collapse, a court heard.

David West junior, 45, is on trial at the Old Bailey for allegedly murdering 70-year-old David West senior as he lay in a drunken stupor in his home next to one of his West End nightspots, Abracadabra restaurant in Piccadilly.

Mr West senior’s personal assistant Oksana Stanzione told jurors how working for the man nicknamed “Papa Bear” was like being part of a “dysfunctional family” where shouting and swearing from the boss was “a way of life”.

But he loved his eldest son “most of all” and the defendant was “very loyal” in return, she said.

In the months leading up to the killing, the business was in financial trouble and David West junior, who expected to inherit it, had become unhappy that their reputation had turned from “winners” to “losers”.

On the day of the killing, he told him he did not want to work for him any more and the “floodgates opened”.

Recalling the incident in the bar of Abracadabra on December 12 last year, Ms Stanzione said: “He (West senior) starts really going for him. He is telling him ‘you’re useless, you are a nobody, you’re an idiot, you cannot do anything right’. Very unpleasant.

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“Normally David junior would have enough power to get himself together and walk away from it but that particular day I don’t know what happened to him but he started shouting back.

“He said ‘I wish you were dead, I hate you. You are a horrible, horrible man and I think if you died it would do a lot of people a favour. I don’t want to work for you any more’. There was a lot of swearing.”

Mr West senior made millions by cashing in on the booze cruise trade in Calais through his firm EastEnders before moving into the West End entertainment industry.

West junior admits killing his father but denies murder by reason of loss of control.