A former South Yorkshire drug-addict claims he tried to stop fatal attack on a vulnerable man
A former drug-addict who is jointly accused of murder claimed he had tried to stop the fatal attack on a vulnerable man.
Sheffield Crown Court has heard during a trial how Martell Brown, Shae Nicholson, Kian Gerrard and a 15-year-old boy have denied murdering Jerry Appicella who was attacked in an alleyway off Hickleton Street, in Denaby Main, Doncaster, near a Go Local shop.
John Harrison, prosecuting, said 51-year-old Mr Appicella who used a walking stick was attacked in the evening of December 3, 2019, and was found by police deceased with a head trauma 12 days later at his bungalow on Craganour Place, Denaby Main.
Although the accused have pleaded not guilty to murder, Mr Nicholson has admitted manslaughter.
Mr Brown said he used to be addicted to drugs and used to get crack-cocaine for Mr Appicella and they would take drugs at Mr Appicella’s home.
He added he had no reason to hurt Mr Appicella and on the night he was attacked Mr Brown claimed he had bought drugs from Mr Nicholson and returned to buy more.
Mr Brown said it seemed Mr Nicholson and Mr Appicella had exchanged words after Mr Appicella left the shop.
CCTV footage showed Mr Appicella walking down the alleyway followed by the 15-year-old with a pole, who cannot be named for legal reasons, Mr Gerrard, Mr Brown on a bike and others while Mr Nicholson appeared to be waiting at the end of the alleyway.
Mr Brown said he saw Mr Appicella swing his stick and Mr Nicholson trying to punch him and he did not want anyone to get hurt and he tried to stop Mr Nicholson.
He added: “I put my hands on his shoulders and tried to pull him off. I let go of him and I said, ‘chill out, calm it, that’s enough’.”
But Mr Brown said Mr Nicholson kept trying to punch Mr Appicella who fell and Mr Nicholson went to kick him.
Mr Brown said he had not pushed, punched, kicked or struck Mr Appicella but he had tried to stop Mr Nicholson.
He added: “Shae carried on what he was doing and I stood by Mr Appicella to see if he was alright.”
Mr Brown said he was not aware of any plan to attack Mr Appicella and he was not part of any attack.
He added: “I was trying to stop the situation that was escalating between Shae and Jerry by physically trying to stop what was happening.”
The youth claimed he had not been aware of any decision to attack Mr Appicella and he did not take part in the attack.
Mr Nicholson answered no comment to police but Mr Gerrard claimed he had been present during an assault but had not been involved.
However, Mr Harrison claimed the defendants beat, kicked, and stamped on Mr Appicella and struck him with a weapon in a joint-attack.
Mr Brown, aged 24, of Colliery Road, Doncaster, Mr Gerrard, aged 19, of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main, Doncaster, and the 15-year-old boy, from the Doncaster area, all pleaded not guilty to murder. Mr Nicholson, aged 20, of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main, Doncaster, denies murder but admits manslaughter.
The trial continues.