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Reece Cox murder-accused punched and kicked victim to 'stop fighting', court told

A man accused of the murder of Reece Cox said he kicked and punched him "to stop him fighting with everyone".

Reece Cox with his son. Photo: West Midlands Police

Wayne Burke, 23, said he was trying to diffuse the situation near the Clifton pub, in Bull Ring, Sedgley, on August 15.

Burke is one of six men charged with killing Mr Cox who had stepped in to try and play peacemaker when a man he had been drinking with earlier was targeted by a group of friends outside the pub.

Burke, of Queens Street in Pensnett, told the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court he had been acting in self-defence for him and his friends as Mr Cox was being "aggressive".

Burke said the group were out for fellow defendant Shaquel Halliday's birthday and had visited a number of pubs in the Dudley area – before trying to get into The Clifton, where an incident occurred with Grant Danbury and Mr Cox.

Reece Cox. Photo: West Midlands Police

He said: "Because I could see multiple of my friends looking like they were in a confrontation which I know now was Reece Cox and Grant Danbury. I went to try diffuse the situation. I wanted to split it up and help diffuse the situation.

"To be fair he [Mr Cox] was being aggressive, he was pushing me, saying stuff like "f***ing come on then". I believe Ryan Nicklin was saying "leave him alone" aiming that at Reece to leave me alone."

He told the court that Mr Cox threw the first punch – adding: "I am trying to stop people from hitting him and injuring him – I am trying to diffuse the situation."

His defence solicitor, Ghulam Ahmed, asked Burke about where he then kicked and punched Cox. Burke said: "There were two punches, the third missed him. I kicked him to the lower back and punched him around the upper back area.

"I kicked him to stop him from fighting. I then threw one kick and one punch. I kicked him on the upper back toward the front chest area – and I punched him toward the arm.

"I punched and kicked him to stop him fighting with everyone, he was being very aggressive.

"I did not see the final kick to Reece Cox at the time. I looked back to see he ended up on the floor the way he did."

Tributes at the scene.

Burke added: "I did not kick him at any stage to his head, I did not punch him at any stage to his head. I was not trying to cause Reece Cox serious harm.

"To be honest, I am disgusted with the way I conducted myself and the outcome, sadly Reece lost his life I am really sorry for that. I am not the one, I never killed him.

"I am disgusted about kicking and punching him. I did it in self defence but it does not look like that on the CCTV."

Adam Ashwin, 20, of Monument Lane, Sedgley, denies murder. Wayne Burke, 23, of Queens Street, Pensnett; Shaquel Halliday, 22, of Shadwell Drive, Lower Gornal; Shane Jones, 26, of Orchard Grove, Lower Gornal; Ryan Nicklin, 22, of Limes Avenue, Pensnett; and Sebastian Jones, 19, of Corser Street, Dudley, deny murder, manslaughter, assault actioning actual bodily harm and violent disorder. The trial continues.

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