Murder accused blames his fellow defendant

A STREET drinker accused of murdering a homeless man from Hastings claims he saw his co-defendant carry out the crime.

Edward Phillips, 49, who is originally from Ireland, claims he saw his co-defendant Michael Clark, 52, carry out the brutal attack on Lea Williams.

Both stand charged of murder alongside nurse Lauren Bishop, 36, of HMP Bronzefield, originally from Worthing, who is charged with conspiracy to murder. Earlier this week Phillips was called to give evidence at Lewes Crown Court by his defence barrister Simon Russell-Flint.

He said when he first arrived in Brighton in January he went to the seafront to meet his ‘mate’ Lea Williams.

He said he had first met Mr Williams in 2012 and they were ‘drinking buddies’ who would sit on the seafront drinking every day.

Mr Russell-Flint asked Phillips whether he was aware that Mr Williams was himself facing a trial during that time in 2012.

Phillips said he did and knew what for and that it ‘was not an issue.’

Phillips, who claimed to drink between 10 and 30 cans of Stella lager every day, said: ‘We were friends, drinking buddies, there was no issue.

Mr Russell-Flint said: ‘did you have any wish to see him harmed or even killed’. Phillips answered: “Definitely not.”

Mr Russell-Flint asked about the first time Phillips saw Mr Williams this year. hillips said: ‘He was happy to see me.

“He said he had moved to the bat cave and I was welcome to stay there if I wanted to.’

Mr Russell Flint asked why Phillips had not told the police everything he knew in his first interview.

He replied: “A number of reasons. In that scene it can be seen as grassing on people if you say anything. There are repercussions from events like that. You could be stabbed, scared, scolded or have your family members intimidated.’

Mr Russell Flint said: “You had seen Mr Williams struck ferociously with a piece of metal. Phillips answered: ‘Yes’.

He then asked Phillips what he knew about Michael Clark.

Phillips said he didn’t know him very well and had heard he was former ex-forces, a marine. He added that he had never seen Clark acting aggressively ‘except once when he attacked Mr Williams’.

Mr Russell-Flint said: ‘Who killed Lea Williams.’

Phillips answered: ‘Michael Clark.’

Mr Russell-Flint asked if Clark had ever spoken of suffering from blackouts or memory loss but Phillips said he had not.

He asked if Phillips had known that Clark was going to inflict serious harm or kill Mr Williams.

Phillips said: “Had I have known something like that I wouldn’t have been there.” He also told the court he had not met Lauren Bishop before the Friday when Mr Williams was murdered although she disputes this. The trial continues.