A TEENAGER has told how he ran for his life during a frenzied attack that killed his best friend.
Scottish piper Craig Hepburn, 19, from Linwood near Paisley, was fatally injured after being stabbed 11 times in Marsden last July.
Yesterday at Leeds Crown Court, his friend Connor Paton, who was stabbed three times during the incident, told the jury how he had tried to help his friend but was forced to flee to save himself.
Anthony Driver, 36, of Grange Cottages, Marsden, and Luke Elliott, 22, of Main Avenue, Cowlersley, are accused of the murder and attempted murder.
They deny the charges.
The friends were in the Colne Valley village with Craig’s family visiting Craig’s uncle, Scott Hepburn.
Connor, 19, told the jury he and Craig had enjoyed a pub crawl around Marsden and had each drunk about 10 pints of beer.
He said at about midnight they came out of the Wine Bank pub and began walking to Craig’s uncle’s house.
As they walked up Towngate approaching Manchester Road he said they noticed two hooded men were following them.
He said the men said something to them but he did not know what.
He said Craig responded and the men came closer.
Connor said he crossed Manchester Road to try and encourage Craig to follow as he wanted to avoid a confrontation.
But Craig did not cross and the two men surrounded Craig.
He said: “I carried on up Old Mount Road and I saw them at the bottom.
“I turned round and Craig was on the deck, lying on his side trying to defend himself.
“A white male was kicking and punching him.
“A black male was behind him doing the same.
“I ran down to help him. As I was getting down the black male saw me coming and turned towards me.
“I managed to push him out of the way and get to Craig to try to help him.
“I had him up and we both tried to run but Craig fell a few steps after getting up.
“I stopped and was going to try and help him again when I felt a sharp pain in my back.
“The while male was round Craig and I turned round and saw the black male.
“I thought it was a punch and I panicked and ran up to Craig’s uncle’s as it’s only up the hill.
“The black male started chasing me and I felt another sharp pain halfway up and another as I got to the top.”
Connor said after he escaped he saw the black male go back down Old Mount Road to resume attacking his friend.
Thomas Martin, who lives on Old Mount Road, just a few yards from the scene, said he had been playing on his computer when he heard shouting and heavy footsteps of what sounded like two people running towards Manchester Road.
He said he went outside after looking out the window and saw Craig on the ground in the recovery position.
He said there was a “significant quantity” of blood that had soaked through his T-shirt.
He checked Craig’s pulse but could not find it and lifted up his shirt and saw three puncture wounds.
Craig’s uncle, Scott Hepburn, said he had rushed down to help his nephew after Connor burst into his home shouting, “They just stabbed us for nothing.”
He said there were streams of blood coming from where he found him lying in the road but he had not dared move him as he feared he had head injuries.
Connor told the court he had not seen either defendant holding a knife and later under questioning from defence counsel he denied he had initially told detectives the black man had a Stanley knife.
The teenager was also asked about his description of the “black man.”
He described him as similar skin colour to Chelsea and England footballer Ashley Cole.
Both the defendants are white males.
The trial continues today.