South Elmsall murder accused deny involvement

FOUR men accused of murdering a former soldier in South Elmsall claim to have had no involvement in the attack, a court heard today (Monday).

Mr Smith, 22, of Boycott Way, South Elmsall, died from head injuries after the assault on Barnsley Road on February 19.

John Dean Richardson, 44, of Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, Neil Brown, 29, and Bradley Jake Parkin, 22, both of Mallard Mews, South Elmsall, and Liam Mark Ackroyd, 22, of Bell Lane, Ackworth, all deny murder and violent disorder. John Simon Richardson, 23, of Kinsley House Crescent, Fitzwilliam, pleaded guilty to murder before the trial started.

William Harbage QC, defending for Brown, said: “John Simon Richardson was the only one who took a weapon, not Neil Brown. Richardson was the only one who used the weapon, not Neil Brown. His intention was obvious. Whatever people were doing that night is wholly different to what Richardson did.”

Neil Davey, for Ackroyd, said he ran away as soon as Richardson junior started hitting Mr Smith with the ‘bat’ - a plastic pickaxe handle.

He said: “If he wanted to disassociate himself from what was going on what better demonstration could there be than him running away?”

He also said that even though witness Joshua Covell said he saw Ackroyd attacking Mr Smith he had told the 999 operator it was gypsies

Mr Davey said: “There was a chance to identify Ackroyd but he didn’t take it.”

Paul Greaney, for Richardson senior, said he accepted he was present but that he did not use any violence. Mr Greaney said a witness told police in interview Richardson senior did not stop the attack or encourage it.

The trial continues.