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Wolverhampton murder trial cancelled as Covid causes more court delays

A Wolverhampton murder trial has been cancelled as Covid continues to play havoc with the region's courts.

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Paulius Petrasiunas was allegedly murdered by Sean Bulle

The jury has been discharged in the trial of Sean Bulle, 20, who is accused of stabbing Paulius Petrasiunas, 25, to death in Heath Town last year, after a member of the prosecution team tested positive for Covid.

Bulle has been remanded in custody until a new trial can be scheduled.

Now restrictions are being lifted and cases are soaring, Covid delays are causing a headache for court officials.

Bulle's is the third murder trial featuring defendants from the Black Country to face disruption because of coronavirus in the space of a week.

Addressing the jury at Stafford Crown Court, Judge Kristina Montgomery said it was not feasible to pause the trial, which was only due to last around two weeks, and ask jurors to continue sitting on it.

Sean Bulle was on trial at Stafford Crown Court

A murder trial in the case of three-year-old Kaylee-Jayde Priest, allegedly killed by mother Nicola Priest, 22, and boyfriend Callum Redfern, 21, who is from Gornal, has been halted after a juror tested positive.

Another case, the murder of best friends Will Henry, 31, and Brian McIntosh, 29, in a Range Rover in Brierley Hill has also been held up because of Covid.

Court officials are facing an increasing challenge to try to keep trials on track without jurors or counsel contracting Covid or being told to self-isolate, which is only likely to become more difficult this summer as cases are expected to continue rising.

It means defendants waiting longer for trials and justice also being delayed for victims' families.

Judge Montgomery said it was possible the stabbing case would have to be moved to another court due to the shortage of spaces.

She told the jury: "I have come to the conclusion it is not in anyone's interests to compromise these proceedings to continue them.

"With a heavy heart I am going to discharge you from making a verdict in this case as I simply can't continue it with your extended service."

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