Sailor from Portsmouth carrier HMS Illustrious denies ever attacking shipmates on night out in Sicily

A FORMER sailor accused of attacking two shipmates on a night out in Sicily in 2013 has told a court martial in Portsmouth he wasn’t involved in the assault.

Mark Pearse, 29, is charged with GBH and assault and battery.

However, Pearse, who was on shore leave from the former HMS Illustrious when the crime took place, claims he was never involved in the fight.

Instead, he says he and his co-accused, Engineering Technician Aarron Evans, had ‘stepped in’ to break up a different fight between two other sailors.

Pearse told the board he’d lost sight of Evans, 28, while trying to stop the fight – which he believed was between a Royal Marine and a navy officer in training.

He said he had hit the officer cadet after the man punched him, and that he didn’t report this as he was fearful of the repercussions of hitting an officer.

However, prosecutor Stephen Parish accused Pearse of changing his story and questioned him why he’d never mentioned this in any police interview.

Pearse said he had been advised to say ‘no comment’ at interview but said he ‘should have used his own initiative’.

n Judge Robert Hill directed the board to find both accused not guilty of perverting the course of justice. The case continues.