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Liam Holden murder: I acted in self defence, says accused
ONE of the brothers standing trial for murdering a man in Grays has said he acted in “self-defence”.
Owen Wood, 24, gave evidence on day six of the trial at Chelmsford Crown Court where he and his brother stand accused of murdering 35-year-old Liam Holden in the early hours of Sunday, March 10.
Mr Wood, of Godman Road, Chadwell St Mary, told the court that he had gone to confront Mr Holden who had “threatened” him and door staff outside the Euro Lounge Club.
He said he followed Mr Holden as he walked away from the club. As he approached and came face-to-face with him, Mr Wood claimed he was punched in the lip by Mandy Patient, Mr Holden’s partner, who he hit back.
Mr Wood then told the court that he was pulled from behind and put into a headlock by Mr Holden, who punched him in the side of the head before the grip loosened. Mr Wood said he turned and threw “a few” punches at him, knocking him to the floor.
Mr Wood, who had been to see a boxing match at Blackshots Civic Hall with his brother Ryan that evening before going to the Euro Lounge, then admitted kicking Mr Holden to “prevent him getting up”. But while Mr Wood said he landed kicks to Mr Holden’s face and body, he said he could not remember how many times.
Asked by Owen Davis, counsel for the defence, why he punched Mr Holden to the ground, Mr Wood said: “Because I was trying to defend myself.”
Mr Davis then asked: “When you kicked him, did you intend to kill him?” to which Mr Wood responded: “No, I never.”
Mr Wood was arrested in Grimsby on Friday, March 15. Asked why he had gone there, he said: “I panicked, I heard the man died.”
Prior to the incident, Mr Wood had worked in safety for a welding company at a power station.
Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, previous convictions against Mr Wood to the jury earlier in the day at court. On June 15, 2007, Mr Wood pleaded guilty to assault after he and four other men – who had been drinking - attacked a man in Chadwell St Mary.
The court heard that Mr Wood attacked the man – who was said to be with his partner and their two children - with a glass bottle at 7.30pm on May 11, 2006, before kicking him while he was on the ground.
Mr Wood said he was advised to plead guilty to the charge, but disputed a number of events that occurred that evening. One of his friends contested the charge of assault and was found not guilty.
On Saturday, August 25, 2007, Mr Wood also attacked a man with a machete in a revenge attack after his cousin had his head cracked open by a man outside a pub.
Mr Wood and his cousin were then driven to the man’s home in Chadwell St Mary where they attacked him, leaving him with “severe facial and bodily injuries”. Mr Wood pleaded guilty to wounding with intent while his cousin pleaded guilty to affray.
Under cross examination, Mr Jackson said: “There’s a pattern to your behaviour isn’t there Mr Wood? Going after men and doing violence to men. That’s the pattern. That pattern was repeated at around 2.30am on Sunday, March 10.”
Both Owen and Ryan Wood deny murder. The trial continues on Monday.