A TENANT at the halfway house in Mansfield where 42-year-old John-Paul Johnson was brutally murdered has said he was asked to go along with a cover up story on the morning after his death.
Michael Morris, who had lived at the Midway Housing property on Chesterfield Road South for nearly six years, originally agreed not to say anything about the assault on 25th October last year but later changed his story in a police interview.
Two men, Carl Green (25) and Christopher Buckland (30), who lived at the property at the time, have both admitted murder, but 20-year-old tenant Daniel Bastable denies the charge.
The violence took place in Buckland’s ground floor bedroom at the halfway house for vulnerable and homeless people on Chesterfield Road South.
Mr Morris said he was woken in the early hours of 25th October after he heard an argument, banging and items being knocked around downstairs but he fell asleep again.
He later woke to find Bastable walking around the hallway landing and Carl Green also stood near the stairs at around 3am.
“Carl Green said ‘we’ve about kicked him to death’, he also said that he (John-Paul Johnson) had then gone to bed,” said Mr Morris.
“Danny was pacing up and down the landing, he just looked blank, he wasn’t paying any attention at all.”
Mr Morris said that Green did not specify as to who he meant when he said ‘we’ve about kicked him to death’ but Green also said ‘we’ve given Jonno some fist’ at around that time.
The jury at Nottingham Crown Court was also told that Green had been scrubbing the floor and carpet on the stairs and later that morning Mr Morris had looked into Mr Johnson’s room and seen his dead body on the bed.
“His trousers were down by his knees, his lips were swollen, he had blood on his t-shirt, you could tell straightaway that he was dead,” he added.
“I was told they had had a fight and it had gone too far, they were going to tell the police a different story - that Jonno had had a kicking in town and they’d helped him up to his room - and I was going to go along with this at first.”
Realising the seriousness of the matter, Mr Morris changed his story in police interview, Nottingham Crown Court was told.
Forensics expert Helen Haworth said that traces of Mr Johnson’s blood was found across Buckland’s room including on the sofa, carpet, television stands and wall as well as on food tins.
One of the food cans also had traces of DNA from Buckland and Mr Johnson’s blood was also found to have dripped down the hallway stairs and traces were also found in the bathroom.
Mr Johnson died later that morning and a pathologist found 83 external injuries to his head, face, body and limbs.
The trial continues