MURDER victim John-Paul Johnson was punched and stamped on repeatedly at a halfway house in Mansfield before he was found dead in his bed the next morning, a court was told.
During day four of the trial into Mr Johnson’s murder at Nottingham Crown Court, the jury was told that the 42-year-old was assaulted by Carl Green (25) and Christopher Buckland (30), who have both admitted murder, and 20-year-old Daniel Bastable who denies the charge.
The violence took place in Buckland’s ground floor room at the property on Chesterfield Road South where all four men had been living in October last year.
Taking to the witness stand, Christopher Buckland said that he had been intimidated by Green’s attack on Johnson in the early hours of 25th October and had tried to intervene but he was shoved away.
Buckland said Green was angered by Mr Johnson after he allegedly said that ‘Greeny’s missus was too good for him’ and he punched him in the face with his left arm.
“He was angry, Green said he was going to knock Johnson out, punches were thrown, he started punching Johnson in the face and the back of his head,” Buckland told the court.
“He said he’d knocked him out before, he hit him about five or six times and fell on the floor, I tried to get up and stop it but I was pushed away by Green, I wasn’t very good on my feet by that point.”
Buckland said that Green remained on the sofa as the injured Mr Johnson lay on the floor in front of the sofa and Green continued to stamp on the victim’s chest from his sitting position, while continuing to chat to the others.
Buckland, who had only lived at the halfway house for around a month, said he wanted to stop the fight as he didn’t want it happening in his room.
But after Green called Buckland a ‘grass’, Buckland felt intimidated and kicked Mr Johnson twice in the head, fearing that Green would attack him otherwise.
He then said that it was at this point that Bastable, who had been sitting on the bed during the attack, allegedly took part in the assault.
“Danny jumped up and said ‘not like that, like this’, and stamped on him, he obviously wasn’t happy with my kicks,” added Buckland.
“He stamped on his chest area about three or four times really hard, he looked like he wanted to go through the guy, I think he wanted to impress Greeny.
“I could just hear the impact, he was still alive, there was moaning.”
The jury was told that the attack on Mr Johnson lasted around an hour and it was Bastable and Buckland who carried him up to his room while Green scrubbed the hallway stairs.
Buckland also cleaned up his own room and wiped down the walls before going to bed and chucked the clothes he had been wearing in the outside bin the next morning when he realised Mr Johnson had died.
On the morning of 25th October, Buckland said that himself, Green and Bastable cooked up a false story to tell to the police.
“Carl was saying ‘I am not going down for this on my own, you two was involved’,” added Buckland.
When cross-examined by Tim Spencer QC, Buckland also admitted to lying in a previous police interview by saying that he had kicked Mr Johnson in the chest when he heard the victim had died from head injuries.
Yesterday Nikita Fisher, former girlfriend of Carl Green and family friend of John-Paul Johnson, said she visited the halfway house on the morning of 25th October so Green could see their two children.
“Carl was not his normal self, he looked like he had been crying, he looked a mess, he just said he was in trouble and he thought he was going to go to prison for a long time,” she said.
Miss Fisher said Green and Bastable made her look in Mr Johnson’s room after they had managed to open his locked door.
She said Mr Johnson was on the floor of the room by the bed and he was not moving but Green and Bastable had left the room and she had called for an ambulance.
The trial continues.