Leigh Park murder trial: Woman caught in crossfire says Kevin Batchelor 'lost the plot' during fight with George Allison before riding off on dying friend's bike topless
A WOMAN caught in the crossfire as two ‘close’ friends punched each other following escalating ‘bickering’ said a murder accused ‘lost the plot’ when he sunk a carving knife into his pal’s shoulder.
Kevin Batchelor, 26, inflicted a ‘catastrophic’ fatal blow on George Allison, 21, at Cherelle Ash’s home in Tichborne Grove, Leigh Park, on May 23 last year before riding off topless on his dying friend’s bike as he fled the scene.
Jurors at Winchester Crown Court heard how events exploded in the kitchen where the intoxicated defendant, Mr Allison and their friend Chellby Ferrol were around 11pm.
Ms Ferrol said the atmosphere at the barbecue gathering had been ‘bubbly’ but she had noticed the two men firing comments at each other during the evening.
‘I was saying “pack it in you’re behaving like a pair of girls”,’ Ms Ferrol said, recalling her conversation with the pair of men.
Ms Ferrol said on one occasion she heard Mr Allison telling Batchelor to ‘smile and sort yourself out’ prompting the defendant to ask Ms Ferrol if he was ‘ugly’.
The pair were telling each other to ‘shut up’ according to Ms Ferrol, who had been ‘hanging around’ with the two men most days during the past couple of weeks. Despite the simmering tensions she said ‘never in a million years did I think anything like that would happen from the comments made’.
Matters erupted in the kitchen where the three of them were socialising after they had been smoking cannabis whilst Ms Ash was upstairs.
‘Kevin was smoking a joint and George said something and then Kevin came swinging and punched George, who started fighting back,’ she said in her police interview, played to the court.
‘They were scrapping and Kevin looked at the knives after they fell to the side and from there I can’t remember what happened.
‘All I know is that I felt something because I was stood in the way.
‘George stood there and went all white and then fell on the floor.’
The witness said she thought Batchelor stabbed Mr Allison when she was ‘stood in the middle of them’ and suggested he inflicted the blow after ‘going around me and doing it’.
She continued: ‘Things happened so quickly. I don’t understand how it happened. They were screaming at each other. It went from zero to 100.’
Ms Ferrol added: ‘Kevin threw the first bang and lost the plot and George was just trying to defend himself.’
She said Batchelor was ‘distraught’ after Mr Allison had collapsed. ‘Kevin was saying “wake up George”,’ Ms Ferrol said, before he ‘escaped’ out of the house.
‘I was saying “where are you going’ and (Batchelor) said “sorry but you are phoning the police on me”. Kevin then rode off on George’s bike.’
Before riding off, Batchelor had ‘chucked’ his T-shirt at Ms Ferrol who fell to the ground as blood poured from a stab wound to her arm before she was helped by a neighbour.
Ms Ferrol said Batchelor had previously told her of his relationship with Mr Allison: ‘I’ve known him a long time and would do anything for him.’
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The court was previously told Batchelor rode the bike with the knife to his sister Hayley Batchelor’s home in Highwood Lawn, Havant. The 34-year-old denies a charge of assisting an offender, along with Barry Baker and Lewis Turner, who were also present.
Baker, 39, of Oracle Drive, Widley, is accused of disposing of the knife, after riding in a taxi with Turner, 32, Fore Street, Camelford, Cornwall, before it was alleged the knife was disposed by Baker in a storm drain near The Swallow pub, on Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park.
Batchelor, of Camborne, Cornwall, denies murder and claims he was acting in self-defence. He also faces an alternative to wounding with intent on Ms Ferrol while trying to inflict GBH on Mr Allison – with this charge being unlawful wounding to Ms Ferrol.