A DENBY Dale man accused of two murders said he would never cross the victims.
Thomas Haigh told police that the two drug dealers killed at a Cornish farm were part of a gang with links to the IRA, a court heard.
The pair controlled three major UK cities, according to Haigh, one of their alleged killers.
David Griffiths, 35, from Plymouth and Brett Flournoy, 31, from Merseyside, were shot, burned and buried in a pit inside a van at the farm near St Austell.
But in interview, Haigh said he would never do anything to cross the gang because “they were the nastiest people in England”.
Ross Stone, 28, who lived at the farm, and Haigh, 26, are jointly charged with the murders and deny the allegations.
Stone admits disposing of the bodies at Sunny Corner, Trenance Downs, after the men died on June 16 last year.
Yesterday the jury at Truro Crown Court heard interviews between police and Haigh after he handed himself in on July 18.
Haigh, a cage-fighter who has slight autism, was accompanied by an appropriate adult.
He told officers he worked as Flournoy’s driver and the two were good friends, although Griffiths was a “head case” with a violent temper.
Haigh said: “All the scousers run London, Manchester and Scotland.
“They work for an IRA firm that runs Liverpool. The money is provided by the IRA – it’s all funded by the IRA. It’s all inter-linked.”
Haigh was sent by the dealers to baby-sit Stone, who was growing cannabis for them to pay off a drug debt he owed them.
He told officers on June 16 he was at the farm waiting for the men to arrive because they wanted to check the crop before heading into Newquay to meet friends.
Haigh said Mr Griffiths attacked him with a piece of banister in the farmhouse because he was annoyed he had brought a girl back to the farm one night.
Haigh said: “He just came in and hit me two or three times over the head. I managed to get the wood off him and he shouted to Brett to get the gun out of the van.
“Brett was shouting ‘calm down, calm down’ and I ran out of the house.”
He said he saw Flournoy with a gun in his hand as he ran away from the farm catching a lift from a passing driver to take him to St Austell.
On the morning of June 17, Haigh travelled by train to his Yorkshire home and handed himself into police on July 18.
Haigh said he did not believe Flournoy would have used the gun, but merely would have shown it to stop him and Griffiths fighting.
Referring to Griffiths, he said: “I have seen him jump up and down on people’s faces.”
Asked if the victims used guns, Haigh replied: “Yes. It’s part of their lifestyle – guns are their thing.”
Prosecutors say Stone had motive because of his debt and threats from the dealers while Haigh was being pressured against his will to smuggle drugs from Brazil into the UK for a second time. The trial continues.