Cwmbran accused ‘told friend to hand himself in’
11:07am Monday 9th December 2013 in News
A CWMBRAN man accused of helping his schoolfriend assault a love rival and evade police insisted he urged his friend to hand himself in.
Giving evidence at Newport Crown Court, Charles Coia, 27, said he became frustrated with Martin Vaughan, 29 after he continued to try to escape arrest.
The jury has been told that Vaughan broke into a house in Rifle Street, Blaenavon on October 4 2012. After breaking through the door he assaulted his girlfriend’s estranged husband Jocelyn Jones with a stick or bat, leaving him bloodied and dazed.
Coia denies lending him a car knowing he would carry out the attack and helping him when he was on the run from police.
Vaughan eventually handed himself into police two months after after the attack, texting Coia: “I’m going to hand myself in tomorrow morning and put all this nonsense to bed. I appreciate all your love and support. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
Coia, of Burton’s Place, Llantarnam, said although he had known Vaughan for 15 years they stopped being close friends the moment he was arrested on suspicion of helping Vaughan.
Armed police raided his house, where he lives with his wife and three young children, trying to find where Vaughan was hiding.
The court heard Vaughan had been staying there more and more frequently in the months before the attack, but the defendant’s wife Sophie was unhappy as she worried Vaughan was taking advantage of their hospitality.
The court heard Coia changed Vaughan’s name in his phone contacts to ‘The World’s Most Wanted Man’ after Vaughan failed to hand himself in to police and continued to send him text messages.
Vaughan became annoyed when Coia failed to respond to some of his texts, the court heard. In one message he wrote: “Whole 24 hours since I last text you and still no reply, superb effort.”
Coia said: “I was getting frustrated with his not going to the police so I stopped speaking to him for a while.”
But the prosecution asked why no text messages had been found urging Vaughan to turn himself in if this was the case.
Coia said he let Vaughan borrow his car on several occasions before the attack and admitted that Vaughan came back to his house after the assault but said he had no knowledge of it because he was asleep when Vaughan let himself in.
Coia denies two counts of GBH and one count of assisting an offender between October 4 and December 11, 2012.
Vaughan admitted the assault and will be sentenced after Coia’s trial.
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