TWO eye witnesses have told a murder trial how they saw one of the accused punching the victim in the face outside a social club where his burnt body was later found.
Partners Callum Bollington and Demi Lee said they heard Emma Aitken screaming and shouting the name of her boyfriend and co-accused, Nathan Doherty, before looking out through blinds in the caravan where they were staying.
As they did so they said they watched as Miss Aitken repeatedly hit father-of-four Barry Smith in the face while he was on the ground.
Both then told the jury they watched as Doherty and a third man accused of murder, Vincent Aitken, try and drag Mr Smith’s lifeless body away from the scene and across a car park.
Mr Bollington, whose mother Pamela Aitken is on trial for assisting an offender, said he also saw Miss Aitken picking up shards of wood for the place where he saw her hitting Mr Smith.
He told the hearing he had returned home from work at 2am on October 6 last year and went into the caravan that overlooked the car park at Kilburn Welfare Social Club.
He said: “I heard Emma shouting ‘Nay’ which is what she calls her boyfriend Nathan.
“We lifted the blinds a little bit and I saw Barry sat on the floor.
“Emma was standing over him hitting him in the face.
“Nathan was stood behind a bench, we shut the blinds because we do not want to see what was happening.”
Mr Bollington said around 15 minutes later he and Miss Lee opened the blinds again to see if anything else was happening.
He said: “Emma was crying, I turned up the TV to block it out.
“I saw Vinnie and Nathan trying to move him (Mr Smith), Nathan was grabbing his arms and Vinnie had his legs.
“I saw Barry’s face had blood on it.”
Mr Bollington said 15 to 30 minutes later he left the caravan to go the nearby bungalow where his mother lived with Aitken.
He said: “Demi and I said something to each other like ‘that looks bad’ and I said to her ‘I am going to see what is going on in the house’.
“As I left the bungalow I looked over to where I had seen Emma hitting Barry.
“Emma was picking bits of wood up, I might be wrong but it looked like bits of pool cue.
“She bent down two to three times before taking them inside.”
Mr Bollington said he went to speak to his mother inside the bungalow and asked her what was happening.
He said: “She said ‘I don’t know, just go back to the caravan’.”
Leicester Crown Court has previously been told by the prosecution that Mr Smith, 48, was beaten to death with pool cues and a fence post, dragged to a pile of rubbish and his body set alight in a “savage and merciless attack”.
Dog walkers discovered his charred remains outside the club at 8am on October 6 last year.
Vincent Aitken, 44, of Chapel Street, Kilburn, his daughter Emma Aitken, 19, and her partner Nathan Doherty, 27, both of Portland Street, Derby, all deny the murder of Mr Smith.
Aitken’s wife Pamela Aitken, 41, also of Chapel Street, denies assisting an offender in relation to Mr Smith’s death.
Fighting back tears and giving evidence via videolink, Miss Lee said: “She (Miss Aitken) was punching him (Mr Smith) for quite a while, I did not really keep a track of time as to how many minutes it was really.
“Emma was screaming.”
“While they (Doherty and Mr Aitken) were picking him up I could see there was blood all over his (Mr Smith’s) face.”
Miss Lee was asked by John Lloyd-Jones QC, for Miss Aitken: “The person screaming was Emma was it?”
She replied: “Yes.”
Mr Lloyd-Jones asked: “Is it possible the thing that you heard her screaming was ‘Nay (a nickname she had for Doherty)’?”
Miss Lee replied: “Yes, it definitely was.”
Mr Smith, of Mayfield Avenue, Kilburn, had previously described by his family as “a proud gypsy” and had lived in the village for six years.
A post mortem examination revealed his cause of death as multiple injuries.
Mr Smith was a father to daughter Billy-Jo, 23, Barrie-John, 20, Luke, 19, and Nathan, 16.
He also had three grandchildren – Josephine-Star, two, Selina-Louise, one, and eight-month-old Arlie-John.
The trial continues.