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David Petch 'had footprints on cheek,' witness tells court

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DAVID Petch had footprints on his cheek after the alleged attack that killed him, a witness told jurors today. John Nolan said he saw the 55-year-old being attacked from the next-door window of his partner Katie Recknall's house and went to see whether he needed help. Mr Nolan gave evidence today at day three of the trial of partners Cherri Gilmartin,37, and Jason Lodge, 39, who lived together in Uvedale Crescent in New Addington. They both deny murdering dad-of-nine Mr Petch on April 14 last year on the doorstep of his home in Wayside, Fieldway, claiming self-defence. Mr Nolan told jurors at the Old Bailey that when he reached Mr Petch he was lying on his back on the floor and was snoring. He added: "I remember some marks on him around his body. "It seemed to me like it was footprints on him like where he had been kicked or stamped." Prosecuting, Simon Denison QC said Mr Nolan had drawn an image of the footprints for police shortly after the incident. Mr Nolan said he could no longer remember the pattern, adding: "The pattern would have been on either the chest, the shoulder and also I have seen the mark on his face and his cheek." Prosecutors say Gilmartin hit Mr Petch with a baseball bat and Lodge repeatedly stamped on his head, following a possible scuffle inside that spilled onto the balcony doorstep. Mr Petch died four days later, from severe head injuries that a pathologist will tell the court were caused by stamping, prosecutors say. The defendants say Mr Petch used his baseball bat to attack Lodge first. Gilmartin told police she did not hit Mr Petch with the bat at all. She told police she and Lodge had gone to see Mr Petch, known as Petchy on the estate, to tell him to stop dealing cocaine to her sister. Mr Nolan also told jurors Mr Petch and Lodge were "having a wrestle, sort of" on the doorstep when he saw Gilmartin hit Mr Petch with the baseball bat. He added he could no longer remember whether Lodge stamped on Mr Petch's head. He said: "The girl, she was trying to get aim to the bare-chested man [Petch]. "She had the bat and it was sort of going backwards and forwards like this, trying to get an aim while the two men were moving. "I do recall very clearly she swung it and hit the gentleman with the bat in the head and I remember it left a sound like a 'doing' - very clear - that stuck in my brain, and the guy just fell down. "I know I said in my statement [to police on April 24] that I seen the guy kicking the man but now I cannot remember if he did or not." Mr Nolan, who the court heard was convicted earlier this year for burglary, admitted occasionally using cocaine but denied taking the drug on the evening of or around the time of the alleged murder. Both he and his partner Miss Recknall said they did not know her neighbour Mr Petch, described by Gilmartin to police as a "well-known" drug dealer on the estate. He added he had been "worried" about Miss Recknall living in the block, to where she had been moved by the council a few months before. He had seen people dealing drugs in the stairwells, he said, adding: "I remember because [Katie's son] was in my arms when I was bringing him up to the flat. "And I had to walk through the guys downstairs and I said I can you sell it somewhere else because there are kids [here]." Mr Nolan told jurors he had been staying at Miss Recknall's home on April 14 when Gilmartin knocked on their door at around 11pm demanding 'Where's Petty?' , with Lodge standing behind. He and Miss Recknall closed the door after a brief exchange with the pair, before arguing because Miss Recknall "thought I had been too aggressive," Mr Nolan said. He said he then went outside and spoke briefly about "travellers" with Lodge. He added: "I cannot remember what he was looking like but I remember how I was feeling at the time - I did not feel threatened by him." He said he went back inside but, about ten minutes later, heard a banging noise prompting he and Miss Recknall to open the window and look outside. He says he saw two men "struggling with each other," and then Gilmartin with the bat. Miss Recknall told jurors yesterday that a young man then ran up screaming, "What are you doing?" and Gilmartin and Lodge left. Mr Nolan added two men walked past his window around the same time, who turned out to be the man with whom Mr Petch lived and a friend. He said: "I think he had his hands up as he walked past, just like a peace sign or something like he was not getting involved." Mr Petch was immediately taken by ambulance to hospital, where is condition rapidly deteriorated. The trial is expected to last until June 28. Mum-of-eight Gilmartin has been remanded on bail, while Lodge has been remanded in custody.

David Petch 'had footprints on cheek,' witness tells court


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