Alan Watts has been found guilty of manslaughter, the jury has just decided.
The man charged with the manslaughter of Asda car park victim Brian Holmes began his trial on Tuesday (December 10).
Alan Watts, 65, of Lindsell Crescent in Biggleswade, pleaded not guilty and said he acted in self defence. The case at Luton Crown Court opened with prosecutor Ann Evans saying that Mr Watts’ “moment of madness” has changed people’s lives forever.
The incident occurred on Saturday, August 3 when there appears to have been a dispute about disabled parking in the ASDA car park in Biggleswade.
In a statement that was read out by the prosecution Mr Holmes’ wife, Christine, said the couple had parked at ASDA, leaving her blue Ford Fiesta in a disabled parking space as she has arthritis and is a blue badge holder.
They shopped in town then Mrs Holmes went into ASDA while Sandy man Mr Holmes dropped the bags off in the car, expecting to join her shortly.
Ms Evans said: “That was the last time Mrs Holmes saw him conscious and uninjured.”
When Mr Holmes, who had recently been given the all clear from cancer, reached his car he discovered Mr Watts, sitting in his Range Rover Discovery next to Mr Holmes’ parking space.
On seeing Mr Holmes, Mr Watts admitted he called out sarcastically, saying “you look like you need a wheelchair.”
CCTV footage was shown to the jury. Ms Evans described how it shows Mr Holmes walking around the front of Mr Watts’ car towards the driver’s window but moving away within seconds as Mr Watts gets out.
Mr Holmes, 64, is seen to back away from Mr Watts who walks towards him and appears to hit Mr Holmes in the face with a “left right combination punch.” Mr Holmes falls to the ground and Mr Watts is shown getting back into his car and driving away.
Ms Evans described the incident as an “unprovoked violent attack by the defendant which resulted in Mr Holmes’ death.”
The court heard from witnesses Christopher McKenna and off duty nurse Patricia Pearson. Ms Pearson said: “He fell backwards rigidly as though he was made of stone. I heard the crack of his head.”
But on Wednesday Mr Watts told the jury that after shouting at Mr Holmes the latter came up to the car. Mr Watts said: “He was really swearing. He was effing and blinding.”
He said Mr Holmes walked to his side of the car, grabbed his arm and started pulling it out of the window. Mr Watts tried to push Mr Holmes away and get out of the car but he could not because he was still in his seat belt.
He managed to get out of the car but when he went to push him away Mr Holmes caught his right arm.
Mr Watts said: “That’s when I hit him with my left fist and it connected with the right side of his face. He fell backwards. I looked at him and saw him lying on the floor.”
Mr Watts said he was concerned that Mr Holmes would have friends who would set upon him and his wife so he got back in the car and drove the two of them away.
He said: “Honestly I was so scared. I just wanted to get away.”