Tipton park accused pair were like "sharks" attacking prey, jury hears

Two men accused of attacking a man who later died behaved like sharks attacking prey, a jury has heard.

Anthony Bird
Anthony Bird

Anthony Bird, 50, died in hospital after an alleged prolonged and ferocious attack in Victoria Park, in Tipton, on July 26 last year.

Steven Bennett and Suni Singh Gill are jointly charged with offences of murder and of causing grievous bodily harm with intent after allegedly kicking and punching the 50-year-old during an incident near the war memorial.

Giving evidence in the witness box Catherine Shuttleworth told the trial at Wolvehampton Crown Court that she was visiting the Victoria Road park with several members of her family for a post lockdown reunion when trouble flared at about 11am.

Miss Shuttleworth said: "It was a ferocious attack. It was just relentless. There was no resistance from the man. It was like kicking a marshmallow. They were like sharks. It was watching a prey being attacked by predators.

"They were not behaving like humans. They were laying into his head and body.

"The Asian male stepped backwards to get more strength and did what I would describe as a drop kick. That was the worst part for me. I still have flashbacks about that kick. It happened a more than a year ago. I will never forget it."

She told the court that she became aware that something was wrong when she heard her mother Helen Shuttleworth, who was behind her, shouting the words "stop please stop" to someone. She said she then saw two men standing around another man who was on the ground.

Miss Shuttleworth said she had earlier noticed an Asian male, a white male and a white female sitting on a bench as she arrived with her children shortly before the alleged assault.

She told the jury that the group had "stood out" and appeared "out of place" as there were no other adults near the war memorial at the time.

Also giving evidence witness Helen Shuttleworth, of Coseley, said Gill was the first to attack Mr Bird followed seconds later by Bennett.

"It wasn't just a few kicks. It was far too long for me. It wasn't a split second, it carried on. It was continuous," Mrs Shuttleworth said.

She also said that "a blonde woman" who was present at the scene near the war memorial stated to her that Mr Bird was "a paedophile".

The jury heard that the defendants rained kicks and punches on the older man, whom they did not know, after accusing him of being a “paedophile”, an unsubstantiated claim.

Mr Bird died in hospital 17 days later due to blunt force head impact with a background of serious pre-existing liver disease which impaired his blood clotting.

Bennett, 38, of Bevan Road, and Gill, 33, of Shore Road, both in Tipton, both deny the allegations.

The trial continues.

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