Glen Kitchens’ death trial: Friend says victim was ‘happy and excited’ on day he died
Andrew Smith took the witness stand at Nottingham Crown Court today (Wednesday 23rd October 2013).
The youth denies manslaughter and is expected to be in the dock until at least next Wednesday.
Mr Smith told the jury he had known Mr Kitchens for more than 20 years, since school.
He said he, Mr Kitchens and another friend, Karl Wilson, had spent the afternoon together on Saturday 6th April.
They had met in The CornerHouse pub in Bridge Place, Worksop, and watched the Grand National horse race before moving onto Yates’ and then Liquorice Gardens in Newcastle Street.
“He was in quite a happy and excited mood because he had just got the last part of a computer he’d been building himself,” said Mr Smith.
“I think that’s why he wanted to get off home. He had just picked the part up and had it with him in a carrier bag.”
Mr Smith said the trio had drunk around five alcoholic drinks each by around 7pm, but Mr Kitchens ‘seemed fine’ and wasn’t affected by drink.
Mr Kitchens left the pub saying he was going to stop at the CornerHouse again before heading home.
“It was minutes after he left that I got the phone call,” said Mr Smith.
“The line wasn’t good but I got the gist that he was having some bother outside Burtons.”
“I was quite surprised considering the time of day.”
The court heard how Mr Smith and Mr Wilson left their drinks and went to investigate.
Both men describe seeing a confrontation between Mr Kitchens and a group of up to ten youngsters aged between ten and 16, outside Burtons on Bridge Street.
Karl Wilson, who also gave evidence today, said Mr Kitchens was surrounded by youths and there seemed to be some sort of argument.
“The kids were pushing first, then Glen pushed out once - pushing the kids away from him,” he said.
Mr Smith said: “They were just kids, that’s why it didn’t seem so urgent to get to him.”
But then Mr Smith and Mr Wilson described seeing an older, taller, boy aged about 16 running from direction of Ryton St.
Said Mr Smith: “I quickened my pace as soon as I saw a guy run from the right and punch Glen.”
“He was running as fast as he could. He rain straight to Glen. He just punched him from the side, no confrontation, nothing.”
Mr Wilson said Mr Kitchens was effectively ‘blind-sided’ and would not have seen the punch coming.
Said Mr Smith: “It was a hell of a punch. I knew as soon as he hit him that he was unconscious.”
“It knocked him out straight away. He had no resistance to the fall. He hit the floor with a bang.”
The jury heard that some of the group stayed around for a few moments, watching Mr Kitchens lying flat on his back on the floor.
It is then claimed that while Mr Smith cradled his dying friend, a boy, who Mr Wilson believed threw the punch, told them “you want to sort your mate out”.
Mr Smith told Mr Wilson to take a picture of the culprit on his phone, but before he had chance the group had scattered.
Despite it still being light at the time of the assault, neither witness was able to pick out the attacker in a video identification procedure.
They both describe him as taller and older then the others, but can not remember anything more about his appearance.
However, Mr Wilson remembers the attacker wearing a light coloured top with a dark jacket or jumper tied around his shoulders.
The defendant is captured on CCTV just minutes before the assault in Ryton Street Off Licence wearing a white T-shirt and a dark red hoodie tied around his shoulders.
The prosecution showed CCTV footage of a person of a similar description running towards the scene of the confrontation and, they say, landing the fatal blow on Mr Kitchens.
But the defence claim the defendant did not throw the punch.
The trial continues.
• Follow our reporter @MissScribble on Twitter for live court updates and check www.worksopguardian.co.uk for regular bulletins