Witnesses tell of cricket bat attack

Witnesses told a court that a Telford man wearing a knuckle-duster was hit round the head with a cricket bat with such force they heard a crack.

On the third day of a trial which sees a 16-year-old Telford teenager - who cannot be named for legal reasons - charged with murder, jurors at Stafford Crown Court heard that Derek Whyteside had been seen chasing the teen in the moments before the attack.

The 42-year-old stepfather of four was killed after he went to Withywood Drive in Malinslee, Telford. to look for two children’s bikes which has been taken from outside his home in Dawley, earlier in the afternoon of June 18 this year.

At the opening of the case of Tuesday, Kevin Hegarty QC, prosecuting, said that Mr Whyteside was hit with a full swing of the bat after the teenager "crept up behind him".

Yesterday the court heard that Mr Whyteside fell to the ground and was then attacked by two men who punched him, and others took photos while he lay unconscious and bleeding.

A witness to the attack, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she saw the teenager stand directly behind My Whyteside before swinging the bat with great force.

The witness said she then saw Mr Whyteside fall to the ground where two men punched him in the head.

She heard a woman say ‘take pictures, take pictures’.

Another witness, Grant Jones, had seen the build-up to the attack from the bathroom window of a house where he was working and had seen a teenager carrying a cricket bat, and two other youths running up the road.

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They were being chased by another man who was, in turn, followed by another group of people.

He said: "The youths were looking behind them to the man who was chasing them.

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"They were all effing and blinding.

"The man then stopped and turned around to face the group who were coming up behind him.

"There was a stand-off between him and the other group but it was not long before the man with the cricket bat reappeared.

"He hit him around the back of the head.

"It was a two-handed, baseball-type swing.

"I could hear the crack from where I was standing.

"It was not an accident.

"He went limp as if he had been knocked out and just went to the ground.

"I went out of the house to see if he was OK. I went across to the man on the ground and he was not conscious. People were still effing and blinding.

"They were swearing at him on the floor. I said ‘What are you doing?’ He was out cold. There was a chap saying it was self defence.

"I could see he [the man on the ground] had a knuckle-duster on. I wondered what I had walked in to.”

Sean Johnston also appeared in the witness box and told the court that he had seen a group of people looking ‘agitated’ close to the scene of the alleged murder.

He had been standing in his kitchen when he saw the teenager run past carrying a cricket bat.

"A man was chasing him and then another group. I could hear arguing and shouting,” he said.

"I heard a lad say he deserved to be hit for hitting a 15-year-old with a knuckle-duster.”

The jury has heard that two other men, William Owens, 41, and Gareth Owens, 39, both of Boulton Grange, Randlay, Telford, had admitted charges of affray after striking Mr Whyteside as he lay on the ground.

The trial continues.




Date: 08 November 2018 | Source: Shropshire Star

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