A TEENAGER accused of murder told police: “It was my friend who did it”.
Aaron Smith, 18, of Emley, is one of three people accused of murdering Mirfield man Josh Hirst.
But in a statement, Smith insisted it was his friend who stabbed Mr Hirst to death and not him.
Mr Hirst, 20, was stabbed in the throat yards from his home in Grove Lane on August 3, last year. He died later that evening in hospital.
Yesterday a jury at Leeds Crown Court heard how Smith, of Savile Street, Emley, prepared a statement when charged with murder.
He told police he had been driving around Mirfield that night with co-accused Joe Church when they came across Josh Hirst.
He said: “When I saw him that night my intention was to speak to him and find out what his problem was.”
But he said when he got out of the car a scuffle broke out between him and Josh.
He said: “Joe pulled Josh off me. It looks as though Joe was punching Josh. I then saw Josh was bleeding heavily. Joe must have stabbed him.
“I did not see a knife. I had no idea Joe had a knife.”
Smith said he wanted to talk to Josh as he had heard rumours when he was in prison that Josh Hirst was saying he was going to “beat him up” when he was released.
He answered no comment to further police questions.
The jury heard that Smith has twice been convicted of robbery, in 2009 and 2012.
The court was told that no weapons were used in those cases.
Co-accused Church, 20, of Redlands Close, Mirfield made no comment when he was arrested but earlier told Det Con Lee Mason he had gone to Lizzie Barker’s house in Waterloo at 9.20pm and stayed there until the morning.
But the court heard evidence from mobile phone expert Darren Greener which showed both Church and Smith’s phones were near to the home address of the victim at 10.48pm on the night he was attacked.
Records showed the 999 call was made at 10.50pm.
Nadeem Rashid, 18, of Lapling View, Horbury also made no comment in police interview.
But Rashid said in custody on August 6: “I didn’t do it, I just picked them up”.
He then refused to sign the record of what he had said.
The prosecution say Rashid drove Church and Smith to Grove Lane then sold his bloodstained car to “get away with it”.
The court also heard evidence from Morley-based Engineering company, Williams Tank Services.
Managing director, Brian Williams told the jury that Church had worked for the company for 18 months. He said knives were supplied to employees and they also had their own tools including knives.
A witness who previously gave evidence was recalled yesterday after she sent a voice message saying she “had done good” for one of the defendants.
The witness, who cannot be named, said she left the message which said:
“I done proper good for Aaron, but didn’t really for Joe, because I don’t like him.”
Defending Church, Mr Greaney accused her of lying about her evidence, but she said she was telling the truth.
All three men deny murder.
The trial continues.