BRADLEY man Paul Thornton yesterday said he was acting in self defence after his victim threatened to kill him.
Thornton, 42, was appearing at Leeds Crown Court for the fourth day of a trial in which he is accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and intimidating witnesses.
A further charge of affray was added to the indictment in case the jury are unable to reach a verdict in the trial, which is expected later today.
Thornton defended his actions on December 23, 2005, at the Christmas party of West Yorkshire Windows, admitting punching victim Terry Mack saying “he came at me aggressively”.
But the builder denied stamping on Mr Mack’s head causing severe facial injuries in the incident outside the Black Swan pub in Wakefield.
He also denied attempting to intimidate a witness on November 29, 2006, just days before his trial was due to begin.
Thornton said: “I punched him before he punched me.
“I knew if I didn’t punch him then I would have ended up on the floor.”
But Nigel Wray, prosecuting, accused Thornton of a “vicious and cowardly attack”, saying: “I suggest that what you did was not an act of self defence, but that you were the aggressor.
“You hit this man to the ground and when he was unconscious and out of it on the floor you commit a cowardly act and stamp on his head.”
Thornton replied: “I wouldn’t do that. I am not that kind of man.”
Martin Robertshaw, defending, said that the Crown had not proven beyond all reasonable doubt that Thornton was responsible for the stamp on Mr Mack’s head.
He said that forensic experts had been unable to say for sure whose foot had caused the injuries.
Mr Robertshaw said: “There is no link, no evidence in fact, that clearly says Mr Thornton was the person who did that [stamped on the victim’s head].
“There is no evidence that Mr Thornton approached any witnesses and tried to intimidate or threaten them into not giving evidence. No evidence at all.”
The jury heard that Thornton had pleaded guilty to two offences at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court in March and October 2005, one for battery and another for common assault.
Judge Stewart, QC, was finishing his summing up this morning. The jury was expected to deliver its verdict in the case later today.