A GRANDFATHER accused of murder on a holiday island was due to go on trial today.
Stephen Johnson, who owns Stepy’s Coaches, has been waiting to go before a judge and jury since the incident happened in Tenerife in January 2008.
The 56-year-old, from Hetton, denies any involvement in the attack, which led to a Moroccan man being stabbed to death, and says he stepped in to try and break up the fight and was himself left badly injured.
He was arrested after an incident in an area of Playa de las Americas known as the Patch.
Two other men and a woman face the same allegation – another man who had been charged has since died.
He hopes to clear his name and return home to wife Joan, 54, their three children and granddaughter Lilly-Mae, two.
The trial is scheduled to last four days. It has been hit with a string of delays. It was meant to be held in November and was thrown in to doubt again last month, only for the case to be listed for today.
In a message posted yesterday on his Bring Back Stepy Facebook group he said: “Well everyone it’s my big day Tomorrow first day of the trial. Thanks to all that has messaged me.”
Joan, who is running the family firm with children Gary, 26, and Michelle, 28, and the support of other family and friends, has taken time away from her part-time role as a business support assistant with Sunderland City Council to fly to Tenerife.