A group of teenagers alleged to have murdered a Spalding man after he confronted them over late night noise at first thought the incident was a joke, a jury heard today (Thursday).
A youngster, who was with the group on the evening but was not charged with any offence arising out of the incident, told the jury that although initially the incident was seen as a joke things changed when objects were thrown by the group at Warren Free and he threw items at them.
Mr Free offered the group a spliff of cannabis but moments later some of the group, including the two female defendants, began kicking his garden fence.
The boy, who cannot be named, said he was with the six defendants in the park at the back of Mr Free’s home in Coronation Close, Spalding, and was later arrested but released with no action taken against him.
He said one of the group, Jake Edwards, made a comment about wanting to punch Mr Free but the others said it was not worth it. Later Edwards, he said, told him he had punched the man.
The boy told the jury that after the comment Mr Free offered the group a spliff of cannabis but moments later some of the group, including the two female defendants, began kicking Mr Free’s garden fence.
Mr Free, he said, then returned to his home and came out armed with a metal pole.
“He was shouting and swearing. We all scattered through the trees.”
The boy said the entire incident probably only lasted a couple of minutes and he told the jury: “It all happened very quickly.”
Earlier the boy, giving evidence via a video link from outside the court room, said that he was due to spend the night at the home of one of the defendants but both sneaked out of the house at around 1.30 am while the mother of that defendant was asleep. They then met up with the others.
The prosecution allege that Mr Free was kicked, punched and stamped on by the group of teenagers before a girl struck him over the head several times with a metal pole.
He went home to bed but friends were later unable to rouse him. An ambulance was called and he was airlifted to hospital but passed away within 24 hours from a head injury.
Six teenagers all deny the murder of Warren Free on August 29, 2014. Three of the defendants, including a girl, were 14 at the time while the others were a girl of 15 and a 16 year old together with Jake Edwards, now 18.
Two of the boys, who were 14 and 16 at the time, each deny a charge of perverting the course of justice relating to the disposal of the metal pole in a nearby waterway.
The trial continues.