Defence barrister accuses witness of telling ‘lie after lie’ in Durrington stabbing trial

The trial is taking place at Hove Crown Court
The trial is taking place at Hove Crown Court

A witness who named two men in connection with a serious stabbing in Durrington has been accused in court of telling ‘lie after lie after lie’ by a defence barrister.

Ben Brooks told Hove Crown Court yesterday that he had watched a gang attack his friend Wayne Heys in Carisbrooke Drive on February 20.

The trial went on for several weeks

The trial went on for several weeks

However defence barristers today questioned his story.

Tommy Howlett, 24, of no fixed address, and Bradley Jake Allen, 27, a carpenter, of Orkney Court, Worthing, are charged with attempted murder, blackmail, two counts of criminal damage and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent. Causing grievous bodily harm with intent is listed as an alternative charge to attempted murder for the jury to consider. Howlett is also charged with possession of a bladed article.

Callum Alex-Hunt, 24, of Butts Road, Southwick, Joshua Bosley, 24, of Bulkington Avenue, West Tarring, Billy Howlett, 26, of Kingsland Close, Shoreham, and Katherine Olive, 20, of Harrow Road, West Worthing, are charged with conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent.

All defendants deny the charges. The trial began last week.

You have told lies in a number of difference respects haven’t you?

Rebecca Upton, defence barrister, asking questions of Ben Brooks

The prosecution said in the opening that not all named defendants are thought to have been present for the attack itself.

Click here to read the report from the first day, where the Crown prosecutor set out his argument

Rebecca Upton, defending Tommy Howlett, spent several hours asking questions of Mr Brooks, who appeared by videolink.

She said: “I want to ask you this morning about a number of different accounts you have given to the police about the incident we are concerned with.

“You accept that your initial account of what happened were lies.”

Mr Brooks replied: “That is correct.”

Ms Upton continued: “You have told lies in a number of different respects haven’t you?

“For example you lied when you told the police you did not know who had attacked Wayne Heys.”

Mr Brooks confirmed that in his first statement he had said that.

Ms Upton said: “So why was it that you didn’t want to help the police try and find the people who had caused these injuries?”

The witness said he was afraid for his and Mr Hey’s family’s safety.

Earlier in the trial Mr Brooks admitted to the court that he had not told the truth to police initially at the hospital, and later at the police station after the attack on February 20.

Ms Upton asked him: “You at this stage had had no chance to discuss with your friend Wayne Heys what you were going to say about what happened hadn’t you?”

Mr Brooks said this was not true, and repeated his assertion that he had returned to Worthing Police Station the next day and gave a true account of what he saw that evening,

Ms Upton continued: “What you were concerned about Mr Brooks was the police finding out about your involvement in drug dealing wasn’t it?

“You were concerned that the police might find out that you deal drugs?”

Mr Brooks denied both suggestions.

Ms Upton raised several questions about why messages were missing from a phone that had been in Mr Brooks’ possession and subsequently handed over to police.

She asked why messages from late February had been deleted, but messages from January 2018 were still there.

Mr Brooks said he deleted messages to save space, but kept important ones.

She asked him about one text found on the phone, including to a person referred to in it.

Mr Brooks said: “It is a friend of Wayne’s who I am not willing to name.

“He is nothing to do with the case.”

Ms Upton said: “It is one of the texts you have sent regarding your drug dealing.

“And that is why you do not want to explain it to the jury.”

Mr Brooks denied this was the case.

Coming to the end of her questions, Ms Upton said: “I suggest Mr Howlett was not involved in selling you drugs.

“I suggest that he did not target any property, belonging to you or anyone else.

“I suggest he made no demand for £2,000 from you.

“I suggest that he did not threaten you or your family.”

Mr Brooks said this was not the case.

Ms Upton suggested that Mr Brooks gathered a team with weapons and went to Carisbrooke Drive.

She suggested that at the time Howlett left the scene, Mr Heys had received no stab injuries.

Mr Brooks said this was not the case.

She added: “I suggest from start to finish in this case you have told lie after lie after lie.”

Mr Brooks said: “No that is not true at all.”

Ross Talbott, defending Bradley Allen, asked him: “Are you sure it was just you and Mr Heys in that four-seat car [in Carisbrooke Drive]?”

Mr Brooks said he was sure.

Mr Talbott continued: “Your team you put together all had with them weapons, didn’t they?”

Mr Brooks replied: “No because I did not have a team with me.”

Mr Talbott suggested that Mr Brooks saw Mr Heys attack Bradley Allen with a stanley knife in the incident.

Mr Brooks said this was not true.

The case is expected to last several weeks. The trial continues.