A man accused of punching and killing another man in a supermarket car park when they clashed over a disabled parking bay, told a jury today (Weds) “I feel sorry for his family, I still do.”
Alan Watts, 65, was giving evidence in his defence and was asked if he bore any malice towards Brian Holmes, the man he’d struck causing him to fall to the ground and fracture his skull.
Near to tears, he replied “Not at all” adding that he’d “lost a son” himself and knew how Mr Holmes’ family must be feeling.
He went into the witness box on day two of his trial at Luton crown court where he pleads not guilty to the manslaughter of 64 year old Mr Holmes.
Mr Watts claims he acted in self defence when he struck former cancer patient Mr Holmes.
The two men had been involved in a violent confrontation on the afternoon of Saturday August 3 this year in the car park of an ASDA supermarket store in Biggleswade.
The jury have been told how, at around 3pm that afternoon, the defendant who lives in Biggleswade with his wife Hazel, was sitting in his Range Rover in the car park.
He was waiting for his wife who was shopping in the store when he said he saw Mr Holmes walk up to a vehicle parked in a disabled parking bay and put a bag in the boot.
The court has heard the car belonged to Mr Holmes’ wife Christine, 60, who was in the store.
She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and, as a result, is a blue badge holder and entitled to use the bays.
But, on seeing Mr Holmes walk up to the car, Mr Watts agrees he called out sarcastically through the open passenger door window “You look like you need a wheelchair”.
Today/Yesterday (Weds) Mr Watts, a retired builder and plaster who told the court he also suffers from diabetes, said on hearing the remark, Mr Holmes “went into one.”
He told the jury “It’s the only way I can explain it.”
Mr Watts said at this point his wife had got back in the car and he went on “He was really swearing. He was effing and blinding, saying what are you effing talking about. Why don’t you mind your own business and p off.”
He said Mr Holmes then walked around his car to where he was sitting behind the wheel. “My arm was on top of the door and he grabbed my arm and was pulling it out of the window.”
Mr Watts told the jury he tried to push the other man away and get out of the car but couldn’t because he was still strapped in by his seat belt.
“I wanted him to get away from me. He had attacked me in the car and I was very concerned about what else he was going to do,” he told the jury.
After a few seconds he said he managed to release the seat belt and open the door and was able to get out of the car.
“All I wanted him to do was get away from my car and get away from me and my wife.”
He said they were by the front of his car and he went to push Mr Holmes in an effort to make him go, who then grabbed his right arm trapping it against his chest.
“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 laying on the floor.”
He said he was concerned for his wife and the fact that Mr Holmes might have had friends nearby.
“I was so concerned I was going to be set upon - I didn’t know if he had friends around,” he told the jury.
Asked by Derek Johashen defending why he had initially tried to push Mr Holmes away, he replied “Because I wanted to get him further away from my car. Ididn’t know if he was going to kick my headlights in - he was so irate.”
He said he backed up his car so he could drive around Mr Holmes and told the court “I know it seems callous, but honestly I was so scared, I just wanted to get away.”
The case continues.