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Historian’s killer ‘drew up list of wealthy extortion targets’

Adrian Greenwood
Adrian Greenwood

Jeffrey Archer and Kate Moss were listed as potential targets for extortion by a man accused of murdering a respected Oxford historian, a court has heard.

Michael Danaher, 50, compiled a list of high-profile targets for theft, robbery and ransom demands, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Danaher, of Hadrians Court, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, is on trial for the murder of Adrian Greenwood on April 6.

The body of the Oxford University-educated academic was discovered with stab wounds by his cleaner in the hall of his four-storey home in Iffley Road, Oxford, the following day.

The 42-year-old's name was found on a list on the defendant's laptop and mobile phone. Also on the list, under the heading "Enterprises", were high-profile "people with means" from whom he was planning to get money, prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC said.

This list was "efficient, and considered and really quite brutal", reading like "an everyday list of people to see, things to do", the prosecutor told the court.

Danaher planned to get this money by either stealing, robbing the targets' homes or by demanding a ransom by kidnapping an occupant, Mr Saxby said.

Mr Greenwood, a buyer and seller of rare and valuable books, is believed to have been targeted because he owned a £50,000 first edition of The Wind In The Willows, published in 1908, the court heard.

The classic by Kenneth Grahame was worth a "mouth-watering sum" because it came with an original dust cover.

Wearing a grey sweatshirt, Danaher, who denies murder, sat in the dock as Mr Saxby opened the case against him.

Showing jurors the list, the prosecutor said: "It exudes, we are going to suggest, a sense of resentment - even anger.

"It is almost as if these are people who because of the wealth, and his lack of it, deserved to be subjected to what he has a planned."

There was a "callousness" about the list, Mr Saxby continued, adding that a stun gun was found at Danaher's flat when he was arrested on April 10 after police tracked Mr Greenwood's phone to the location.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Greenwood died from multiple stab wounds to the chest and neck and had defensive wounds to the hands, the court heard.

He was stabbed in the back, stamped on and left for dead, the jury was told.

Not far from Mr Greenwood's body the handle of a kitchen knife was found. The blade, which Mr Saxby said presumably broke off during the attack, was allegedly taken from the scene by Danaher and has never been found.

Hours after the murder, Danaher accessed his 'Enterprises' list, presumably to remove Mr Greenwood's name, jurors were told.

Danaher is claiming self-defence, Mr Saxby said.

He said: "He now admits having killed Adrian Greenwood: 'I caused those injuries'.

"Frankly, he has no choice.

"The evidence he knew Adrian Greenwood, that he attended his address on April 6 and that he killed him is utterly overwhelming."

Mr Saxby said former politician and novelist Lord Archer and the supermodel Moss were among a string of high-profile names that appeared in a spreadsheet list Danaher had compiled and from whom he intended to get money.