THREE teenagers accused of the manslaughter of a Polish steelworker were trying to protect themselves, a jury has been told.

The trial has previously heard that Shaquille Crosdale, 19, his brother Brandon Crosdale, 18, and Callum Banton, also 18, all of Fleetwood Close, Newport, were involved in an incident on the city’s Keene Street, on the evening of January 12 this year, which subsequently resulted in the death the following day of Jan Jedrzejewski.

All three have pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Jedrzejewski, 41, following an altercation that began outside Cromwell Stores, on the corner of Cromwell Road and Keene Street, shortly before 11pm that night.

In a police interview from January 15 read out in court, Banton said that Mr Jedrzejewski started walking towards Shaquille.

Banton told police that Shaquille was holding a wood and that it looked like he was going to hit Mr Jedrzejewski because he had “started panicking”.

“This guy was massive compared to Shaquille,” Banton said. “Shaquille was walking backwards, and the guy was walking forward. He was getting closer and closer to him.

“Shaquille was telling him to get away from him, but the guy didn’t say anything – he was like a robot.”

In the end, Shaquille hit Mr Jedrzejewski with the wood on his left shoulder, said Banton.

“It didn’t touch any other part of his body,” Mr Banton added. “That didn’t have any effect on him, it made him more angry.”

In his interview, Banton told police that Shaquille then started running off and that Mr Jedrzejewski went after him.

Banton said that, at this point, Brandon gave Mr Jedrzejewski a “little” kick on his back.

He added: “It wasn’t bad as there was no reaction from him. He carried on walking on the direction of Shaq.

“I started walking after him, thinking he would have demolished Shaquille. You have this big guy going after a small kid.”

Banton said he was telling Mr Jedrzejewski to leave Shaquille alone. He said: “I punched him on the left shoulder.

“It was not my hardest or my lightest punch – I just wanted to hit him so he would turn around and leave Shaq alone.”