A MAN accused of murder yesterday told a court: “I’m sorry”.
Christopher Burton said the man he is accused of murdering was “a nice man” and he apologised for attacking him.
At Bradford Crown Court yesterday Burton made his apology to the family of Brockholes dad John Collins.
Mr Collins, 55, died from major head injuries after an attack outside his home at Oakes Avenue last July.
Burton, and co-accused Douglas Stephen, both of Oakes Avenue and both 29, admit Mr Collins’ manslaughter, but deny his murder.
Burton said: “I was shocked because I only punched him once.
“He must have banged his head on the floor or something.”
He continued: “I was confused and stressed – I couldn’t believe it. I felt bad because he didn’t deserve it. There’s no need for it, this shouldn’t have happened.
“I thought he was all right, I thought he was a nice man.”
Prosecutor Tom Bayliss QC asked Burton why, if he had liked Mr Collins, did he hit him.
Burton replied: “He was bringing trouble around.”
But Mr Bayliss said Mr Collins was just walking up the street and wasn’t causing any trouble.
Burton replied that he wanted to stop and ask Mr Collins when his son Chris was returning home from prison and where he would be staying when he got back to Huddersfield but Mr Collins tried to walk by.
He said: “I lost my temper.”
Mr Bayliss asked Burton: “You were pretty obsessed with Chris Collins weren’t you?”
Burton said he wasn’t obsessed with Chris Collins but had been upset when Chris had an affair with his girlfriend and after she became pregnant the paternity of the baby was called into question.
The court heard how rumours had been going around the village that Chris Collins was claiming he was the real father.
Mr Bayliss told the court witnesses had heard co-accused Stephen, nicknamed Scouse, shouting about how Chris Collins was going to “get it” when he came out of prison.
And he said the two defendants had been “spoiling” for a fight after drinking whisky and intimidating other neighbours on the street.
Mr Bayliss said one witness heard Burton shouting: “Let’s do some serious business – how scousers do it – let’s cause some ****” just a matter of minutes before Mr Collins was attacked.
Burton denied kicking and stamping on Mr Collins’ head and said it had been co-accused Stephen that had gone up to Mr Collins in the first instance.
The case continues.