A TEENAGER took part in an attack on a Huddersfield taxi driver because he did not want to get stick from his friends, a court heard.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named, told jurors yesterday that his role in the ambush of Mohammad Parvaiz in his Lockwood taxi on July 22 was to throw a brick at the window.
The youth, another 17-year-old, a 16-year-old, and 18-year-olds Graeme Slavin and Christopher Murphy are accused of killing the 42-year-old Birkby man when he was called to attend a false fare at Field Head in Golcar. They all deny the charge.
Michael Hand, 19, has changed his plea to guilty.
Giving evidence at Leeds Crown Court, the defendant said he was shocked when his friends deviated from their original plan to smash up the taxi, after a driver had dropped off a rival Asian gang who smashed up Murphy's scooter weeks earlier.
He said his role in the plan was to wait for a signal when the taxi arrived, throw a brick at it, then run away.
The teenager told jurors that he acted out his part, but as he ran away he looked back to witness his friends attacking Mr Parvaiz.
The court heard that at the time of the attack, the defendant was living at home with his parents.
He had just left school after taking his GCSEs and spent most weekends at his 17-year-old co-defendant's flat with the rest of the accused, drinking, smoking cannabis and playing computer games.
He admitted being at the flat when Murphy's scooter was destroyed, but didn't take part in the dispute.
He said he and his friends went to the Lockwood Taxis office to find out the names of the people who damaged the scooter so they could give their names to the police.
The defendant told jurors that the night of July 22 was unplanned. He said he and his friends met up with a group of girls at the "Three Benches" and they moved on to Golcar rec.
There, he testified, he drank and smoke cannabis, swung on the monkey bars and play fought with one of the defendants.
He said: "There were a lot of conversations going on. I heard Murphy talking to some of the girls about what happened to his scooter and that he just wanted to get the taxi firm back by getting one of their taxis.
"I've heard him say something like that before and nothing's happened, so I didn't think anything was going to happen."
The teenager said he knew nothing of a plan to attack a taxi until the group headed off to Field Head. Then he realised the taxi was on its way.
He said: "I understood that when the taxi arrived they were going to smash the windows."
David Nathan, defending him, asked: "Did you think they were entitled to do that?" He replied: "I guess so, I felt entitled."
The defendant said: "When we were down at Field Head, people were moving around looking for bricks and stones.
"I remember Michael Hand saying he would flag the taxi down, and when it stopped, that's when we should throw our bricks.
"When it stopped, I hesitated for a while because I didn't want to be the first one to throw in case no one else did.
"I heard a smash and that's when I threw my stone through the rear-side passenger window.
"I then ran towards the path that I came down from the rec. That's what I thought the plan was - to smash and run.
"When I was running off I glanced over my right shoulder. I got the impression people were moving towards the driver's side of the vehicle."
Mr Nathan asked: "Didn't it cross your mind that the taxi driver was going to get injured?"
The defendant replied: "No, not once."
Mr Nathan asked: "Why did you go along with it?"
The teenager replied: "I knew that smashing the window was bad, but I didn't think it would be anywhere near as bad as it turned out to be.
"If I had backed down, I would have got a lot of stick from my friends."
The youth said his co-accused talked about the attack after they fled the scene.
He said: "I remember Michael Hand saying he'd smashed the taxi driver in the head with a brick, Graeme Slavin complaining about his knuckle hurting and Chris Murphy saying that he'd kicked him in the head."
The teenager admitted getting rid of his hoodie top after the attack, testifying he later told police where to find it.
He said: "A police van drove up the road. I didn't want to be identified so I got rid of it.
"I thought about the DNA transference, that's when I was keen to get my hoodie to prove to the police that I had nothing to do with the attack."
The defendant said when questioned by police he told them the truth about his part in the attack on the minibus, but admitted lying about not hearing anything from his friends about the attack.
He said: "I didn't want to grass my friends up about what they said. I didn't want to send them down for life.
"It was a wrong thing, what happened. I just did not expect anything like this to happen, ever."
Adrian Waterman, prosecuting, asked: "You were shocked that your friends could do such a terrible thing?"
The defendant replied: "Yes. I knew it were more than what we'd planned to do, it was completely unexpected."
The trial continues.