A witness to the murder of Rotherham pensioner Mushin Ahmed has said he saw both defendants accused of the killing attacking the 81-year-old.
Shane Rice told a jury at Sheffield Crown Court he had seen Damien Hunt punch Mr Ahmed before witnessing Dale Jones kicking him while the elderly man was on the ground.
Mr Ahmed was on his way to mosque for early morning prayers when he was subjected to a sustained assault on August 10 last year. He died after 11 days in hospital.
Jones, aged 30, of East Bawtry Road, Rotherham, and Hunt, 30, of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, both deny murder. Each say the other defendant was responsible for the attack.
Mr Rice, who was at the scene with both defendants and his brother Kieran, had initially told court on Wednesday that Jones had punched and kicked Mr Ahmed and he had not seen Hunt participating in the attack.
But he told court yesterday he had lied to the court about Hunt’s involvement for the sake of his brother, who had been arrested over the assault.
He said: “The only reason was protecting my brother. He were in a prison cell with Damien.
“Once I started, I felt like there was no way out.”
Mr Rice added: “The truth is I seen Damien hit Mr Ahmed first.”
He said he had then seen Jones kick Mr Ahmed to the side of the head.
Mr Rice said he had then run off.
Andrew O’Byrne QC, representing Jones, asked Mr Rice who had asked him to lie about Hunt’s involvement. He said his brother had passed a message from Hunt to him.
Mr O’Byrne asked what lie he was asked to tell by Hunt. The witness said: “That I had not seen him do anything.”
His brother Kieran Rice later told the court that Hunt and Jones had been taking cocaine and drinking Southern Comfort whiskey prior to the incident.
He said Jones had been in a ‘psychopath mood’, making repeated threats to kill his girlfriend’s former partner and then attempting to attack an Asian taxi driver while using racist language.
Mr Rice said Jones had started following Mr Ahmed and repeatedly called him a ‘groomer’. He said as the attack on Mr Ahmed took place, Jones had ‘starting screaming at the top of his voice, ‘I’m going to kill him.’’