M25 Cobham Services murder trial: Accused tells court he was attempting to ‘clear the air’ with alleged victim before fatal brawl broke out

November 21, 2017
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One of the men accused of murdering a 20-year-old traveller at Cobham Services has told a court he had only wanted to talk to the alleged victim.

Quhey Saunders, 20, of Stanford-le-Hope in Essex, died on June 26 after being struck on the head with a plasterer’s whisk in a “short and brutal” fight with Simon Baker, 22, and Mikey Coyle, 21.

Mr Baker, of Green Lane in Outwood, near Redhill , and Mr Coyle, from Barnes in west London, both deny murdering Mr Saunders.

On Tuesday (November 21), the defence began putting its case to the jury at the Old Bailey, with Mr Baker giving evidence.

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Under questioning from his barrister, James Scobie QC, Mr Baker said he had approached Mr Saunders to “clear the air” after years of rumours.

The two were distantly related but had not seen each other for several years.

Mr Baker said: “I just wanted to speak to him and clear the air about what I had been hearing. I heard that he was saying a few things about me in the travelling community.

“I didn’t know why he was saying it but I thought I would just ask him really.

“It’s been going on for a few years. He apparently was saying that when he sees me he was going to give me a good hiding.”

Mr Baker told the court he and Mr Saunders had started talking in the petrol station.

He said: “We started talking and I said ‘What’s all this I’ve been hearing?’

“He said he did say those things but it was nothing too serious. We could have talked about it.”

Mr Saunders had been travelling back from a family wedding in Wales with his uncle and aunt, Patrick and Lizzy Connors. The defendants had been driving to Guildford to look for work as builders or handymen.

Mr Baker continued: “Lizzy [Mrs Connors] came and started shouting. She made me feel uncomfortable when she started shouting and pushing me.

“I got the impression she was a bit drunk straight away. Straight away I felt uncomfortable.”

However, Mr Baker said, Mr Saunders began getting “pumped up”.

Quhey Saunders with girlfriend Larosa Smith
(Image: BPM MEDIA)

CCTV footage obtained from the petrol station shows the two men speaking outside the shop.

Mr Baker said: “I think Quhey was getting a bit pumped up and got more agitated.

“At this stage Quhey was putting his hands on me. I said, ‘Come on, none of that’.”

Mr Baker added: “I wouldn’t have wanted to get in a fight with him because I knew who was going to come out on top. Quhey was a lot bigger and stronger than me.”

He went on to tell the court Mr Connors had threatened him moments before he and Mr Coyle picked up the whisk and a shovel respectively.

Footage of part of the incident shot by a witness, former police officer Andrew Margolas, was shown to the jury.

One voice, identified by Mr Baker as Mr Connors, said: “Baker, I’ll fix you.”

Moments later, the defendants took out building tools from their van.

Mr Baker said: “I walked to the side of the van. I saw Mikey [with the shovel]. I thought, ‘They are not stopping and are not scared of us. They want to beat us up.’

“I grabbed the whisk and thought they would see it and get scared.

“There was nothing stopping me at that stage from attacking him but I hoped that it would’ve just scared him. But I think it wound him up more.

“Never once did I go to Quhey with the whisk, nor did Mikey go at him with the shovel.”

The footage also shows Mr Baker standing outside the doors of the petrol station shop, whisk in hand, as Mr Saunders approaches him.

“I’m telling Quhey to back off now and leave me alone,” said Mr Baker. “I wanted him to get scared.

“I was scared for my life right now.”

The trial continues.

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Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/m25-cobham-services-murder-trial-13935232


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