Leeds murder accused ‘stamped on victim’

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A mum told a jury her boyfriend was stabbed and stamped on by her friend as she tried to give him first aid as he lay fatally injured.

Alexine Cowell described how Janine Birch continued to attack Martin Wheelhouse as an operator gave her first aid advice after dialling 999.

Birch, of Blenheim View, Leeds, is on trial at Leeds Crown court where she denies murder.

Miss Cowell said Birch and Mr Wheelhouse had been arguing at her home in Portland Avenue, Wortley, moments before the incident on August 16 last year.

The mother-of-two said she had to step in between the pair and pushed Mr Wheelhouse outside to prevent further trouble. A short time later Birch went to the door and “lunged” at Mr Wheelhouse, making a “stabbing motion”.

She said: “I did not see her have the knife in her hand until she had actually stabbed him.” Miss Cowell said she went to the door and her boyfriend had told her he had been stabbed.

Miss Cowell said she brought him inside and he collapsed to the floor and Birch continue to be aggressive, saying: “He’s not clever now.”

The court was again played a recording of the 999 call in which the operator tells Miss Cowell to place a towel over Mr Wheelhouse’s stab wound.

Miss Cowell said Birch continued to stand over Mr Wheelhouse, kicking him, and also stood on his chest.

Prosecutor Tim Capstick asked Miss Cowell: “What affect did that have on Martin?” She replied: “He was struggling to breathe.”

Asked whether Birch stood on him with one foot or two, she replied: “She was balancing. She was stood on his chest but the other foot wasn’t on the floor.”

Mr Wheelhouse died from the stab wound shortly after being taken to Leeds General Infirmary.

Bruises were also found to his ribs, which the prosecution say were consistent with Birch kicking and stamping on Mr Wheelhouse as he lay bleeding to death.

The incident happened a day after Birch moved in to Miss Cowell’s home.


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