Murder accused admits using knuckleduster in attack which became 'like something out of a horror story'

A man on trial for murder has told jurors the deadly attack his co-accused carried out on the victim was "like something out of a horror story".

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25 July, 2018, 15:19
Michael Price was found badly beaten in the street, and died later in hospital.

Prosecutors claim Paul Watson and Christopher Hills had "encouraged" each other during a savage attack on Michael Price, who suffered 29 separate injuries, at a house, then dragged him into the street and left him.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 36-year-old died in hospital 11 days after the violence in January, as a result of traumatic brain injury sustained during the beating.

Giving evidence from the witness box, Watson has told jurors he fought off Mr Price when he arrived at the property in Chester-le-Street with a knife because he did not want to get stabbed.

But he said his co-accused Hills escalated the violence alone, and "started stamping all over his head".

Watson told the court Mr Price had arrived at the house with a knife, which appeared to be from a kitchen block.

He said: "Michael pulled out a knife and said 'I'm going to ******* kill you'.

"It was the sort of knife you would get in a kitchen, like out of one of them blocks."

Watson said he hit Mr Price with a knuckleduster, which had been handed to him by Hills, in self defence, while the blade was being waved in his direction.

He added: "He was waving the knife around and my life flashed about.

"Chrissy passed me a knuckleduster and I hit Michael. I feared for my safety. It was self-defence. I didn't want to get stabbed, did I?"

Watson said Mr Price was still standing up after the blow, and he was then hit by his co-accused.

He added: "Chrissy hit him and he hit his head off the wall.

"He started to get back up, so I stamped on his back. I stamped on his back twice.".

Watson said his co-accused then told him he had "not done a good job", took the knuckleduster and said "I will show you how to do it".

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He added: "He said 'Do you realise he just tried to kill us?'.

"He took the knuckleduster off me and he started punching Michael all over with the knuckleduster, to the back, to the face and the back of his head."

Watson added: "He started stamping all over his head. Chrissy said again 'Do you realise he's just tried to kill us?'."

Watson told the jury he tried to get Hills to stop the violence, but he ignored him until he decided to stop himself.

He added: "I think Chrissy then dragged Michael out and just left him in the street. He dragged him out on his own."

Watson said he stayed with Hills after the attack and did not summon the emergency services because he was "too frightened".

He added: "I was intimidated. I was shocked and frightened. I had never seen stuff like that in my life. It was like something out of a horror story."

Prosecutor Nick Dry has told the court the men were linked to the attack, at a house in Victor Street, Chester-le-Street, within hours, and traced to a property in the same street.

The court heard Mr Price was found in the street after the emergency services received an anonymous call at around 5.30am on January 13.

When paramedics found him he was "badly beaten and initially thought to be dead", but was treated at the roadside and transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle after a pulse was found.

He died in hospital on January 24.

Mr Dry told jurors the offence took place "within the context of a drugs background".

Watson, 30, of The Crescent, Chester-le-Street, and Hills, 30, of Gregory Terrace, Houghton-le Spring, both deny murder.