One of four men accused of murdering a fellow drug user has denied to a jury the group had gone out that night intending to rob someone of drugs.
On Monday 24 February, David White told Adrian Waterman QC prosecuting at Leeds Crown Court that there was no such advance plan and his decision to rob Jonathan Binns of his drugs at a flat in Eastborough, Scarborough was just spontaneous.
Mr Waterman suggested White and three men with him had initially intended to steal drugs from some “Scouse” drug dealers, one of whom had beaten up one of their group Kevin Pickering some days earlier.
When they did not find the “Scousers” at Gary Thomas’s flat on the evening of August 7 last year Mr Waterman said they had turned their attentions to another target Mr Binns who was at the flat and had heroin and would not give them it.
White denied that and said: “If it was a planned robbery why didn’t Gary Thomas get robbed.”
The jury has heard it was White who began the violence in the flat before Pickering stabbed Mr Binns in the leg with a kitchen knife, hitting the femoral artery and leading to him bleeding to death.
Pickering, 30 of Royal Crescent, Scarborough denies murdering Mr Binns, 41, but has admitted his manslaughter and robbery.
White, 34 of Queens Terrace, Scarborough, denies murder or manslaughter but has admitted robbery.
Nicholas Polihronos, 31 of Stoney Haggs Rise, Seamer, and James Cousins, 31 of Woodlands Place, Manchester deny murder, manslaughter and robbery.
Earlier White told the jury they went to an address in Market Way to try and get some heroin but when there was no answer they decided to go instead to Mr Thomas’s address in Eastborough.
Mr Binns was already there sitting in a chair. Mr Thomas told them he had no drugs and one of his group then asked Mr Binns.
“He said he had got a little bit but was keeping it.”
Lee Karu QC defending White said: “When he told you he was not prepared to give you any drugs what did you do.”
“I started a little bit of an argument I guess,” said White. “It started with a few comments from him, I gave him some comments back and one thing led to another.”
“He was saying he wasn’t giving us any, we didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t ours to have. I have obviously got a bit pissed off and I guess I hit him.”
White told the jury he punched Mr Binns on the side of his face. “He turned round and said something I don’t recall what it was, I’ll be honest I just hit him again then he started throwing punches back.”
He said Mr Binns was still sitting down and he struck him five or six times mainly to the face. “I guess I was just being a dickhead really, just punching someone because I could.”
Asked by Mr Karu what his intentions were at that time he replied: “I didn’t really have any intentions for the first couple of punches until he started retaliating back then I decided I’m going to have his drugs.”
He said he presumed the drugs were in in Mr Binns coat because he was holding on to it and began tugging it between the punches trying to get it from him.
White said he was not paying attention to what the others were doing and had not seen Pickering with a knife but suddenly Mr Binns let go of his jacket and he was able to pull it from him. “I looked down and seen blood everywhere.”
“When I seen the blood that panicked me, I wasn’t there for anything like that, no chance. I seen it coming from his leg the lower bit of the thigh.”
He told the jury he did not know what had caused it but assumed it was from a knife. “I stepped back, I seen a lot of blood and a lot of people panicking.
That was when he and those with him ran out. He said he assumed the injured Mr Binns would go to hospital and be stitched up. “No way did I think he would die from that.”
He said there was no plan to hurt him, his actions had been spontaneous. When they got back to his flat they took the drugs which had been in the jacket and they had a go at Pickering telling him there was no need to stab the lad.
“What was his reply to you and the others, “asked Mr Karu.
“He just sat there with his head down, he looked gutted that that was what he had done,” he said.
In cross-examination by Mr Waterman, White agreed he had told lies to the police in interview but said he was telling the truth in the witness box. “It takes guts to stand up here. None of us foresaw it would end this way.”
He agreed he had taken Mr Binns jacket with him when they left and the drugs were taken from it before it was discarded and then used back at his flat.
The trial continues.