NEWPORT MURDER TRIAL: Witness describes how Newport man hit floor with shocking force after double punch to the head, in day two of case
7:32am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
A WITNESS at a murder trial yesterday described the moment a Newport man hit the floor with shocking force after twice being punched in the head.
Giving evidence in the second day of the trial of Calvin Wall and Shaun Walker, witness Stuart Peart said Barry Thomas collapsed on to the pavement face first “with a bang”, before being kicked in the gut while he lay bleeding on the floor.
Wall, 46, and Walker, 19, deny murdering 45-year-old Mr Thomas, from Bettws, on June 2 earlier this year at Methuen Road, Maindee.
The prosecution at Newport Crown Court, led by Elwen Evans QC, contends Mr Thomas died two days later in hospital, as a result of a vicious assault by the two defendants.
Giving pre-recorded evidence via video, Mr Peart said he had been so shocked and distressed by what he had seen he had to leave the scene after initially trying to help Mr Thomas – a close friend of his family.
“The punches were full force, like boom, boom,” he told DC John Crandon, in an interview on June 4 in which he was animated and distressed.
“Barry hit the floor with a bang. I felt it. Then he was kicked in the gut full force.
“I ran to him and turned him over, but his eyes were wide open and his lips were blue. I thought he was dead.”
Mr Peart - who suffers from a speech impediment, learning difficulties, and impaired social function, judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams told the jury of nine men and three women beforehand - said he knew Mr Thomas’ alleged attacker only by the nickname Badger.
When asked to describe him, he matched his appearance of that to Walker.
He said: “He’s tall, with spots on his face.”
Mr Peart, who was working in his front garden repairing the mud guard from his motorbike when the incident occurred, said he tried to protect Mr Thomas by shielding him from Badger.
“But he (Badger) shoved me into the car and said ‘get the *** out of my way’,” he told DC Crandon.
“I should have helped him (Mr Thomas), but I didn’t have chance. Then it was too late.”
DC Crandon asked Mr Peart how the incident had started. Mr Peart said Mr Thomas had gone up to a man with Badger - known to him by the name Walnut – and tapped him on the shoulder with a pen “messing around”.
He said: “Barry only did it lightly. He was only having a laugh. He didn’t do it hard. That’s all he done. But Walnut said, ‘I don’t like your ******* attitude’, and told Badger to get him.”
The long-term partner of Mr Thomas, Julia Garland, wept in the public gallery, next to family and friends of the defendants, as Mr Peart was cross-examined during a tense exchange in the afternoon.
He was assisted by an intermediary but became angry during an hour of questioning by David Aubrey QC, defending Walker, and Roger Thomas QC, in the case of Wall, accusing both men of “twisting things”.
Mr Thomas asked Mr Peart: “So as you remember it, Walnut was tapped on the shoulder and then went wild, despite being happy just before?”
Mr Peart responded: “Yeah, he went mad for no reason.”
Mr Thomas then asked: “Did you see Badger and Barry Thomas wrestling?
Mr Peart replied: “There was no wrestling.”
Mr Thomas said to him: “Did you hear Mr Thomas shouting at Badger? Did he say that he would kill Badger?”
Mr Peart said: “No he never. That is a pack of lies.”
In a final question Mr Thomas asked him: "Do you think you could be mistaken about anything you have told us?”
To which Mr Peart replied, shouting: “No, I was there. I saw it. I didn’t make it up and I have made no mistake about it!”