Money and drugs motive for murderous attack, court told

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A MAN allegedly beaten to death was set upon for money and drugs, a murder trial has heard.

Christopher Garwell, 23, suffered extensive fractures to his skull and severe brain haemorrhages after he was kicked and punched repeatedly to the head by attackers he had befriended just hours earlier, Chester Crown Court heard.

David Tushingham, 20, Kieran Cunnah, 18 and two youths, all from Blacon but who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny murdering unemployed Mr Garwell, of Connah’s Quay who died on June 9, six days after being attacked on the City Walls in Chester .

The trial heard the victim, his friend Scott Murphy and the accused had spent the day together at Grosvenor Park Chester, swimming in the River Dee and enjoying the sun before events turned sinister.

Outlining the prosecution case, Michael Chambers said Mr Garwell’s death was the result of a “vicious joint attack by the accused”. “We say this was in an attempt to steal his drugs and money,” he added.

He said before the attack the victim, who only knew of the accused through Mr Murphy, had left the park with the four accused before heading into town.

Mr Garwell, described as “very drunk”, had been seen taking a small number of ecstasy pills and had with him a small bag of cannabis. He had stayed with the accused while Mr Murphywent home to Connah’s Quay.

The trial heard the victim was set upon twice, with the second “vicious attack” on the City Walls shortly after 7pm proving fatal.

Mr Chambers said: “In the mistaken belief that they (the accused) were his friends, the deceased was alone with four men from Blacon, having lost his friend and protector Scott Murphy.

“The four men took advantage of the quiet alleyways and crevices of the city centre in the belief that he (the victim) had drugs and money.

“We say the deceased was robbed, for on admission to the Countess of Chester Hospital, he had no drugs or money on him.

“Whether these defendants succeeded in robbing him does not matter, but what it does show is the aggression by these defendants towards the deceased.”

The victim and his alleged attackers walked through the city before heading for Queen Street, behind Foregate Street, and eventually into Charlotte Court sheltered housing where the accused are alleged to have turned on the victim. Nearby residents also told how they saw a group of four attacking someone, “kicking him to the head while he was on the floor and slapping him to the face”.

Witnesses also heard shouts to the effect of “give us your money”, the court heard.

A resident who shouted out caused the accused to run from the scene, followed closely by the victim.

Mr Chambers said the group continued along a nearby canal towpath.

Tushingham, Cunnah and the victim were captured on CCTV walking under the canal at Cow Lane Bridge and up wooden steps to the walls in the direction of King Charles Tower where the victim was attacked again.

The two co-accused youths are alleged to have lost sight of Tushingham, Cunnah and the victim along the way and met up with them soon afterwards.

The accused are then alleged to have begun the fatal attack upon the victim, who was leaning against the walls “very drunk” and acting in a “strange way”, after hearing him on the telephone saying: “Call the boys, I have been banged.”

Mr Garwell, was found close to the King Charles Tower in Chester just after 8pm on June 3 by passers-by who called an ambulance. He had suffered a severe head injury and was taken to Liverpool’s Walton Neurological Hospital but he did not regain consciousness.

The court heard how pathologists stated injuries sustained to the head and swelling to the brain would have been sufficient enough to kill the victim.
(Proceeding)

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