Attack on death case 'vandals' denied

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The Independent Online
A MAN whose lifelong friend was allegedly kicked to death after telling off vandals yesterday denied throwing punches and attacking the youths with his golf umbrella.

Philip Tull, 46, said he had no chance to defend himself after his glasses were knocked off. 'There was no question of fighting back - I wasn't on my feet long enough,' he told Cardiff Crown Court .

Mr Tull, who was found unconscious beside his dying friend, father-of-three Les Reed, also 46, denied lashing out with the umbrella during a confrontation with nine youths moments after traffic bollards were vandalised on the Ely housing estate in Cardiff last June.

'If I could have used the umbrella to defend myself, I would have. But there was no time to fight back,' he said when cross-examined by John Charles Rees QC, representing one of the 17-year-old defendants.

Mr Tull, a painter and decorator, said they were attacked by up to a dozen youths. He was tackled from behind and repeatedly kicked by three or four of them as he lay on the ground, he said. He remembered nothing more until he was brought round by police who were also trying to revive Mr Reed.

The court has heard that Mr Reed suffered 55 separate injuries and fractures when he and Mr Tull were attacked as they walked home together after a Friday night out and spotted youths kicking the bollards and playing football with pieces of broken plastic.

Four youths deny murdering Mr Reed, a redundant steelworker. They also plead not guilty to the attempted murder of Mr Tull and causing him grievous bodily harm.

Two of the defendants, both aged 17, cannot be named for legal reasons. Their co-defendants are Michael Mundell and Stephen James, both 20 and from Ely.