Five deny attempted murder after alleged sexual assault
By Whitstable People | Friday, February 04, 2011, 08:00
A MAN has told a court of the bloody hallway battle in which he was stabbed, hit with a baseball bat and punched in the face by a revenge-crazed mob.
James Middleton, 20, told Canterbury Crown Court on Friday how he was viciously attacked after trying to help a woman who had been sexually assaulted.
Earlier in the day, last May 4, he said he had gone to help the woman, who he heard had been sexually assaulted by Jim Chambers, 19, of Walmer Road, Whitstable.
After Mr Middleton beat up Mr Chambers, a former Herne Bay High School pupil, the court heard Chambers armed himself with a knife and came after him.
Mr Middleton escaped to his grandmother’s house in Belmont Road, Whitstable. Five youths then arrived in a VW Polo.
It is alleged Mr Chambers was in the car with Alfie Rossiter, 18, of St Andrews Close; Lee Dryburgh, 24, of St Marks Close; Oliver Stratton, 20, of West Cliff; and Tyrone Court, 19, of St Patrick’s Close. The first three deny attempted murder and wounding with intent. Mr Stratton and Mr Court deny a lesser charge of violent disorder. Mr Dryburgh claims he was never in the car at all.
Mr Chambers also denies the sexual assault.
Mr Middleton said he had been having a meal with his girlfriend Phoebe Marsh when he was summoned to his mother’s flat in West Cliff. He collected friends Dean Marsh and Greg Broad and met two other friends, Daniel Miles and John Hodgson, at the flat.
Mr Middleton told the court: “I saw Jim Chambers and others by the door so I picked up a bit of rubber tubing. I hit him around the neck but it didn’t take effect. So I threw it on the floor, barged through the door and punched him a few times.”
As Mr Middleton and his party prepared to leave, his girlfriend screamed.
Mr Middleton said: “I turned round to see Jim Chambers outside. He was bare-chested and running towards me. He had a knife in his right hand.
“I turned to run to the car. As I got there they were starting the engine and we all piled in. He was close and shouting but I jumped in the car and we drove off.”
Once they arrived at Mr Middleton’s grandmother’s house, he thought he was safe, took his shoes off and told the others to go home.
He said: “My girlfriend arrived in another car and I went out in my socks. Then Phoebe screamed. I heard a car screech to a stop. I glanced up and saw a purple VW Polo. I told Phoebe to go, slammed the car door and ran to my gran’s.”
The court heard Mr Middleton’s grandmother was standing in the doorway. Mr Middleton said: “I ran in. I barged my gran back towards the stairs, turned round to close the front door but Jim burst through it. He was still bare-chested and had his right arm raised.
“I could see he had a knife. He came straight at me.
“I cowered down with both hands above my face but it caught me just behind the ear and went straight in.
“There was instant pain and I felt myself drop. He put the knife straight in and pulled it out. I was looking straight at him.
“I got back up and grabbed his wrist so he couldn’t stab me again. Then the other guy came in. I saw he had a knife as well.
“He was holding it with the blade pointing down and tried to stab me straight away. I threw myself against the wall as the blade came down on top of my left shoulder.
“I lost my grip on Jim’s arm and man number two stabbed me again in the top of the arm. That one hurt a lot. I was trying to watch where their knives were going and trying to stay on my feet.
“I didn’t want to go down as I would have had no hope at all.”
During the attack Mr Middleton said he saw his grandmother watching in horror.
Mr Middleton said: “Another man came in. He was black, aged about 17 to 19, and had a baseball bat.
“Jim and Lee were in the way so he couldn’t get to me. I was getting bashed all over the place. I was starting to get tired because of the stab wounds. I couldn’t hold them off.
“I think it was Jim who hit me in the face with his arm and pushed me into another room. Jim and Lee came straight through.
“Jim punched me across the face and came back with the knife and got me in the arm. I could see the blood dripping down.
“I grabbed hold of them both and tried to move them towards the bay window but then I got a blow across the back. It hurt. I saw the door to a different room and ran out through the house.”
As Mr Chambers left the house the court was told he was heard to say about Mr Middleton: “If he is not dead he soon will be.”
The case continues.