Sunderland man on trial for murder claims two others carried out fatal attack

Michael Stead died nine months after being attacked.
Michael Stead died nine months after being attacked.

A man on trial for murder has told a jury he watched as two other men punched, kicked and hit the victim with a hammer.

Michael Young is accused of taking part in a joint, armed attack on Michael Stead outside his home in Sunderland in March last year.

Mr Stead, 34, suffered severe injuries and was left in a persistent vegetative state until he died in hospital nine months later.

Young is standing trial accused of murder alongside co-defendant Daniel Mould.

Prosecutors claim Mould's sister Leanne Mould had plotted the violence against Mr Stead, who was her long-term boyfriend, following a fall out over £30 and accusations that he had been unfaithful.

It is claimed she had warned she would get Mr Stead "done in" on the day of the horror attack.

Michael Young told Newcastle Crown Court today how Michael Stead was arguing with Daniel Mould and Trevor Creighton in the street about texts.

He said Michael Stead had a bat in his hand, while Mould was carrying a hammer.

He said: "Michael Stead tried to swing for him, but I wasn't sure whether it hit him or not. With the bat. I don't know whether that one connected.

"Daniel swung and hit him with the hammer. I noticed that one did connect."

When asked by his barrister Alistair Macdonald QC where Mould had hit Mr Stead, Young replied: "On his head. He staggered into the car.

"When he staggered into the car that's when Trevor ran from behind and began punching him.

"He punched him a couple of times in the side of the face.

"He ended up on the floor. I don't know if it was from the hammer blow or the punches, but he ended up on the floor."

Young told the jury how Creighton then kicked Mr Stead and Mould punched him.

When asked where Mould had punched him, Young replied: "It looked like it was in the face or head.

"As Daniel punched him I seen Leanne coming trying to drag Daniel away.

"There was a lot of screaming and a lot of voices. It's a bit disorientated. There was a lot of crying."

Young told the court how Mould and one of them asked him to go with them, but he left the scene in a different direction.

When asked if the attack on Mr Stead was any concern to him he said: "I was a bit concerned, but they both had weapons, I didn't want to get involved. I was in a catch 22."

Young said he didn't feel brave enough to intervene. He told the court: "It doesn't mean I wanted it to happen.

"I was drunk and I was worried about myself as well."

Young told the jury how he "panicked" when he was arrested by police and made no reply.

He said: "I panicked, I didn't know what to say. I just panicked I didn't want to say nothing."

When asked what he was concerned about he said: "Just being there. I've heard about of a thing called joint enterprise where you can get charged for being at the scene of a crime and stuff like that."

When asked if he had personal experience of it, he said: "Not myself, but I have been remanded in custody at 15 years old.

"Two people I met on the wing were on remand for murder. One of them didn't do a thing. He was there and got sentenced for being there."

The jury heard how Young committed a robbery when he was 15 in which he waved a hammer at a shopkeeper in a threatening way.

When he was asked if he pleaded guilty to that offence, he said: "Straight away, yeah."

Mould has previously given evidence claiming he had considered Mr Stead to be a "friend", and said he had tried to pull the real killer away during the murderous violence.

Mould said Mr Stead, who was armed with a knife and machete, "came for him".

He said it was in the middle of that confrontation that Michael Young punched Mr Stead to the ground unexpectedly.

Mould said Young then used a nearby car to lean on with both hands, so he could stamp on Mr Stead with his feet.

He added: "I was trying to get Young, to drag him off."

Leanne Mould, 34, of Brady Street, her brother Daniel, 26, of Chester Terrace North, and Trevor Creighton, 33, of Lumley Street, all Sunderland, all deny conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Stead.

Daniel Mould and Michael Young, 26, of Rutherglen Road, Sunderland, deny murder. The trial continues.