A WITNESS to the fatal assault of Jock Straiton did not change his statement to protect himself or his friends, a court has heard.

Craig Douglas first told police accused Paul Blower had joined Joshua Spruce and Nigel Goolding in kicking Mr Straiton as he lay on the grass.

But just days later he asked officers if he could make a new statement, this time removing Blower from the scene of the beating.

The hearing at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday heard how Mr Douglas told police he had just ‘presumed’ Blower had been there because he had seen him before and after the attack.

He said: “I didn’t really want to watch because I don’t like stuff like that.

“I didn’t realise how serious the case was. I thought it was just another fight.

“When I made that first statement I was rushing because I was making my first team cricket debut, I just wanted to get there and get out.

“But over the weekend I found out how serious it was and I didn’t want to see people get away with possibly really damaging the man.”

Asked to describe what he saw, he said: “I saw he (Jock) had something in his hand, he was holding it with his arms out at the side.

“He was going towards Josh but I didn’t see him swing for him, Josh just punched him.

“He punched him, got the hammer, then kicked him.

“The man sort of stumbled and that’s when Josh started kicking him.”

In his second police statement he said: “He was proper, really kicking him, not like he was just tapping him, it was as if he was taking a penalty at football.

“Nigel went over and it seemed as though the man lifted his head to try to get up and Nigel punched him in the face.

“Josh was shouting something along the lines of, ‘come on then, get back up’.

He said Goolding was kicking from the chest upwards while Spruce was kicking from the chest down.

The trial continues.