A HOMELESS man has told a jury that murder accused Gary Anthony George threatened to kill him before attacking him with a broken sherry bottle.
Brian James Reilly told Chester Crown Court Christine Margaret Holleran – co-accused with 41-year-old George of murdering Andrew Mackenzie Nall last August – was his girlfriend.
He said they met up in the city centre at about 4pm on August 31 and he was going to buy her a can of beer from an off-licence in Brook Street because she was feeling rough.
The couple had been with George but Mr Reilly said he and Holleran, 50, were walking away as George said he was going to “smash” his head against a shop window.
Jurors were told on day four of the trial that George – who denies assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent – reappeared seconds later and attacked Mr Reilly on subway steps.
“All of a sudden he came from the middle of nowhere. He must have been following us,” said 53-year-old Mr Reilly.
“He said ‘I’m going to kill you’.
“He smashed the bottle on the step and attacked me with a broken bottle.”
Mr Reilly told the court he suffered serious injuries to his hands and wrists and was also struck with the smashed bottle on the head. Jurors watched CCTV footage showing Mr Reilly dripping pools of blood onto the pavement outside the Bull and Stirrup pub on Upper Northgate Street.
“In my opinion he had nothing to lose by killing me,” said Mr Reilly.
“Why he didn’t finish the job I don’t know. Maybe he’d seen the blood.”
George Cole QC, defending George, suggested Mr Reilly was homophobic and did not like his client, an openly gay man.
He asked “You have known Gary George a long time. You don’t get on with him do you?”
Mr Reilly admitted he did not like George but said he did not care whether or not he was gay.
“My younger brother is gay. It does not bother me one bit,” he said.
“Gary George is not the most well liked person in Chester.”
Mr Reilly, who initially told police he fell on a broken bottle, became upset when Mr Cole suggested he was mistaken and George had not carried out the attack.
He asked: “I dreamed this did I? Someone jumped out of the canal, a frog or something, and did this?”
Simon Medland QC, defending Holleran, said Mr Reilly’s intention that day was to spend the night with Holleran and he had asked her to go back with him to where he was staying in Ellesmere Port.
“I had just been slashed to bits and I’m asking her to spend the night with me?” replied Mr Reilly.
Mr Reilly, who did not initially recognise himself in a photograph showing him with George and Holleran, admitted he had forgotten some parts of his police statements. Both George, of no fixed abode, and Holleran, formerly of Edge Lane in Liverpool, deny murdering Mr Nall, whose body was found his flat in Eversley Park.
George has admitting killing the 53-year-old but on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The trial, before the Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, continues.