A KITCHEN porter who punched and kicked a Connah’s Quay man in the head told a murder trial he was devastated after hearing the victim had died.

Keiran Russell Cunnah, 18, told the jury in the City Walls murder trial: “I could not believe it. I was devastated. I never thought I would go to jail for this. It does not seem real.”

Earlier Cunnah, of Blacon, Chester, admitted punching and kicking Christopher Garwell, 23, after Mr Garwell appeared to turn against him and his friends.

Cunnah told how he saw his co-accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, punch Mr Garwell in the face twice before he launched his own attack.

He said: “Christopher Garwell was standing there with his arms out saying ‘come on’. I thought he was going to bang him out [Cunnah’s co-accused].

“I’d heard Garwell say how he had been to jail and he had snapped somebody’s jaw two weeks earlier in a fight.

“I thought he was hard and that he hung around with the top lads from Connah’s Quay.”

Cunnah, a kitchen porter at Chester Racecourse, said before the attack he and his friends had put Mr Garwell’s shoes on for him and were trying to get him to the bus stop so he could go home.

Cunnah told the court he never intended to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Garwell and described the kicks he gave Mr Garwell as “not hard”. “He did not wobble.”

Cunnah maintained his co-accused punched Mr Garwell’s head at the same time that he had kicked him in the head.

Cunnah also said he twice ran back to help Mr Garwell after he fell to the ground hitting his head on the Walls with what prosecution barrister Michael Chambers QC described as a “sickening noise”.

“Everyone just scattered and ran. I turned around and ran off but I looked back and saw him (Mr Garwell) and I was panicking, so I ran back and picked him up and dropped him by accident and his head hit the floor. Then I panicked even more.

“I ran off again but turned back round and thought I can’t leave him like that, so I scooped him up and put him up against the walls so he could not swallow his tongue.”

Cunnah admitted punching Mr Garwell to the head once during an earlier incident in Charlotte Court after he thought a fight had broken out between Mr Garwell and David Tushingham

“It was a quick reaction as I thought there was a fight or something. I did punch him but it didn’t really hurt him. We were all right after that though. I’d said sorry to him.”

Under cross-examination defence barrister Jeffrey Samuels QC, representing the unnamed accused, questioned why Cunnah had called his co-accused “a snake in the grass” from his prison cell while both were awaiting police interview.

Cunnah said he understood the phrase to mean someone was “sly or slimy, like a snake”, and said he called this out to his co-accused because he had “betrayed him”.

He told the court: “In the cells everyone was shouting to each other saying ‘go no comment’ and he [the unnamed accused] did not go no comment.”

Mr Samuels referred to letters exchanged between Cunnah and a witness with whom he had become “close” as he awaited trial.

“What became of these letters?” asked Mr Samuels.

“I don’t know,” replied Cunnah who admitted that in the letters he complained of being “stitched up”.

He asked if his evidence had been tailored to match that of the friend he had written to.

“No. Are you saying we stitched him up?” Cunnah replied.

Cunnah and the youth, who cannot be named, both deny murdering unemployed Mr Garwell.

On the day he died Mr Garwell had spent the day with his friend Scott Murphy, of Connah’s Quay, and the two accused in Grosvenor Park, Chester.

Mr Justice Andrew Nicol is expected to begin summing up today.

David Tushingham, 20, and an unnamed youth, both from Blacon, have been cleared of murdering Mr Garwell.