A man accused of attacking Sheffield church organist Alan Greaves on Christmas Eve said he was scared of his co-defendant because he’d beat him up when they were younger.
Ashley Foster said he was afraid of Jonathan Bowling and they were not friends.
Foster, aged 22, denies murdering of father-of-four Mr Greaves, aged 68, who was fatally attacked as he made his way to St Saviour’s Church in High Green.
Jonathan Bowling, also 22, of Carwood Way, Pitsmoor, has admitted murder.
The prosecution say the pair acted together and that both attacked Mr Greaves.
Giving evidence in his defence, Foster said when he was 11 years old, Bowling’s father Leslie and his mother Nicola Casey started a relationship.
He described Leslie Bowling as ‘horrible’ and ‘evil’ and said his family had to be relocated to Cornwall after Leslie tried to kill his mother. He said Mr Bowling once throttled him and punched him in the face.
He said he was scared of Leslie’s son Jonathan Bowling too because Leslie once paid him £50 to beat him up.
But Foster said Bowling and his younger brother Callum were close and, following Callum’s death last December, Bowling spent more time at the house Foster shared with his girlfriend Natalie Evers and their two children.
Foster said he got home from work on Christmas Eve and Natalie and her mum Deborah, who lived nearby, told him they’d invited ‘Jono’ for Christmas Day.
“They said he had nowhere else to go and they felt sorry for him,” Foster said.
Asked if he wanted Bowling there, he replied: “No.”
Foster said an argument broke out about Jono behaving inappropriately towards Natalie, and Jono thought Deborah’s partner Dick had started the rumour.
“He was shouting and aggressive,” said Foster. “Jono picked up a hammer and said, ‘Watch this, I’m going to smack Dick on the head with this and kill him’. I thought I have to get him away to calm him down. I told him, ‘You can’t do stuff like that’.”
Foster, of Wesley Road, High Green, said he took Jono for a walk.
Asked if he wanted to be with Bowling, he said: “No, I wanted to be at home with my children.”
He said they went to two pubs to find his father because he thought his dad would be able to calm Jono down.
Foster said: “He wanted to get home so he could beat Dick up. I said, ‘I’m not taking you back to mine’, and he said, ‘Shut up or I’ll bang you’.
Near High Green Miner’s Welfare Club, Foster said Jono disappeared, came back with a pick axe, smashed off its handle and put the handle down his trousers.
“He said, ‘Shut your mouth otherwise I’ll bang you’.
The trial continues.