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City walls murder trial witness tells of chilling text message

Published date: 22 November 2010 |
Published by: Staff reporter
Read more articles by Staff reporter


 

A KEY witness in the City Walls murder trial told a jury how she received a text message from one of the four accused telling her, “We’ve battered some lad”, on the night victim Christopher Garwell was attacked.

The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told how after receiving the message she replied asking “why” and did receive a reply from the accused but could not remember what it stated.

The jury in the trial at Chester Crown Court were shown video footage of the police interview with the witness on August 5, following the fatal attack on Christopher Garwell on June 3.

The witness said: “I was at a friend’s house and I received a text from [one of the accused who cannot be named]. I can’t remember the exact nature of it but it was along the lines of “we’ve battered some lad, or we beat him up or banged him.”

The witness was also interviewed by prosecution and defence barristers before the trial via video link to the court.

David Tushingham, 20, Kieran Cunnah, 18, and two youths who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny murdering Christopher Garwell, from Connah’s Quay, after an alleged joint attack on the City Walls, close to the King Charles Tower. The victim died six days after the alleged attack after sustaining extensive fractures to his skull and severe brain haemorrhages.

The prosecution allege the four accused repeatedly kicked and punched the victim to the head, setting upon him for his money and drugs.

Two students from Chester discovered the victim in a collapsed state lying in a pool of vomit and called for an ambulance.

The court heard the witness had been with the victim and the accused in Grosvenor Park hours before the attack and how she had witnessed David Tushingham drinking, “shouting his mouth off”, calling his friends names and showing off in a “joking but aggressive manner”.

She remembered noticing the victim in the park briefly, who was sitting with the accused and others, not speaking and with his hands on his knees. The court heard how Mr Garwell is said to have taken six ecstasy pills, drank a large quantity of vodka and had been smoking ‘skunk’ cannabis throughout the day.

The trial heard how, prior to the alleged attack, the victim tagged along with the accused through back streets of Chester city centre after his friend Scott Murphy left to return home.

The accused are alleged to have turned on the him, slapping his face and kicking him on the floor before a resident in the Charlotte Court area called out and all involved ran. It is alleged a second attack on the victim by the accused on the Walls proved fatal.

Earlier the trial had heard evidence from Scott Murphy, a close friend of the victim who had spent the day with his friend and the accused at the Grosvenor Park.

Mr Murphy told the court how his friend told him he had £50-£60 on him as the pair set off to Chester that day. He said his friend bought a bottle of vodka, cigarettes, and had ‘chipped in’ about £8 towards more alcohol later in the day. Mr Murphy said his friend also had two-three bags of cannabis when he left him to return home.

The trial heard from prosecution barrister Michael Chambers how the victim was not in possession of any money or drugs when he was admitted to the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Mr Chambers said: “Therefore we say that the four defendants set upon the deceased in a joint attack for his money and his drugs”.

Earlier Mr Murphy was asked whether he recalled an encounter with two black men as the defendants and the victim left Grosvenor Park.

Mr Murphy said he could not recall the black men and a “bit of a commotion” but asked by defence barrister John McDermott QC, for David Tushingham, whether Christopher Garwell had said, “They have just robed me”, Mr Murphy said he could not remember.

Mr Murphy added that he had had “a lot to drink” and that had made it “difficult to remember”.

The jury in the case were due to retrace the footsteps of the victim and the accused on Friday.

The trial continues.

 

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