A witness told a murder trial jury he went on two car journeys to dispose of bloodstained clothes and other items because he was in fear after learning of a friend’s death.
Leeds Crown Court has heard how Joshua Hirst died after collapsing in a pool of blood in the street outside his home in Grove Street, Mirfield, after being stabbed on August 3 last year.
Joe Church, 21 of Redlands Close, Mirfield, Aaron Smith, 19 of Saville Street, Emley and Nadeem Rashid, 21 of Lapwing View, Horbury each deny murdering the 20-year-old, and possessing an offensive weapon.
Chris Coles yesterday told the jury he was at the home of a Lizzie Barker, in Mitchell Avenue, Waterloo, Huddersfield, last August when Church and Smith arrived with blood on them. He said Smith stripped to his boxer shorts to wash and was given some other clothes. After he dressed, Ms Barker asked what had happened.
Mr Coles said Aaron Smith replied: “We got Josh Hirst.”
He said Smith described how when Mr Hirst drove up they called him over to the car, saying “Josh, where’s your drugs?”
He said Smith told them Josh had asked “What?” as he approached, and then Church had grabbed him and they began struggling together, until Mr Hirst broke free and started hitting Smith.
“He said they traded punches between the three of them and he said then Joe slashed him. He said ‘didn’t you Joe’ and he just muttered ‘yeh, yeh’.”
Mr Coles told the court Church said he had only slashed his back.
He told the jury that Smith had told them that Mr Hirst had carried on fighting before he turned and ran towards his home, shouting he had been stabbed.
He claimed Church said Mr Hirst deserved it for what had happened earlier in the year, when Church’s home and vehicle had been damaged.
The witness said a short time later he learned in a message Mr Hirst was dead. That news appeared to shock Smith who was “crying his eyes out” and was physically sick.
Later that night he went with Smith and Church in a car, dumping clothing and other items where directed. He said he was not threatened by them but was in fear. “I did help these people because that’s what I felt I had to do that night.”
Subsequently he helped police recover some of the items.
Under cross-examination by Paul Greaney QC, defending Church, Mr Coles denied it was his idea to go out and dispose of clothing and denied lying to make the situation worse for Church.
The trial continues.