Murder accused denies hitting dad

Victim Dean Armitage.
Victim Dean Armitage.
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A burglar accused of murdering a family man who confronted him as he tried to steal his car has denied striking him any blows.

David Matthew Sindall, aged 34, admitted ‘pushing’ Dean Armitage but said he didn’t hit him with a weapon or punch him.

Dean, aged 49, died from severe head injuries three weeks after he confronted Sindall at his home in Skiers View Road, Hoyland, Barnsley.

The prosecution alleges Sindall struck Dean with a torch, and delivered at least one or two more blows after Dean fell to the ground and hit his head, fracturing his skull.

Sindall, of Selbourne Street, Eastwood, Rotherham, claims he was passing the Armitage family home after a night out when he saw the door ajar.

He told jurors at Sheffield Crown Court that he went inside and stole the Range Rover keys, a handbag and some shopping bags.

“I don’t know what made me go down the path to this day, but I went down the path, pushed the door forward and I could see the bags on the kitchen floor,” he said.

Sindall stashed the bags further down the street to collect later, then returned to steal the car.

“I jumped in and left the driver’s door open,” he said.

“I put the keys in the ignition, started the vehicle, tried putting it into drive, but for some reason I couldn’t get it in to drive.

“Next thing I knew, someone I now know to be Mr Armitage gripped me with both hands.

“It shocked me because the first thing I knew about him being there was his hands on me.

“He was trying to haul me out.

“I just pushed him, my intention was to get some space between me and him so I could get away.

“I pushed him and he went backwards.

“It all happened so fast. He stumbled back, I didn’t see him hit the floor.

“At no point did I have any intention of hurting him, unfortunately he smacked his head, didn’t he?”

Asked if he had intended to kill Dean or cause him serious harm, Sindall, who denies murder, replied: “No. I never hit him or anything.

“I pushed him, that was it. He went backwards, banged his head and died.”

The trial continues.