A dad-of-one “invented” claims a burglar threatened him with a gun shortly before he stabbed one of his accomplices to death, a court heard.
Prosecutors allege Karl Townsend concocted claims his childhood friend Jordan Brophy and two fellow burglars threatened his life in the seconds before he inflicted two sets of fatal stab wounds on him. Townsend and his half-brother Jamie Cunningham are on trial at Liverpool Crown Court for murdering Mr Brophy and for possession of a bladed article. Both deny the charges.
Townsend had discovered Mr Brophy and the other men burgling his Halewood home on October 29 last year. Prosecutors allege Townsend then attacked Mr Brophy “out of revenge or punishment”, inflicting two sets of wounds on him, one inside his home when he found him there and another a few minutes later outside on Beechwood Avenue.
Townsend and his half-brother Jamie Cunningham are on trial at Liverpool Crown Court for murder and possession of a bladed article. Both deny the charges. The pair allegedly armed themselves with knives after being alerted by Ring doorbell to a break-in at Townsend’s Halewood home.
Prosecutors say they rushed to the address and confronted the intruders. Townsend is said to have stabbed Mr Brophy in the head and arm, before twice knifing him in the face. One stab wound went through his left optic nerve and damaged his temporal lobe.
Liverpool Crown Court has heard Townsend and Cunningham left the scene, but then returned, when Townsend allegedly stabbed the “defenceless” 31-year-old in his jugular vein. Richard Pratt, QC, prosecuting, has said Townsend does not dispute causing Mr Brophy’s death but denies murder.
The jury has heard from eyewitnesses at the scene, been shown footage of the incident and heard from the pathologist who examined Mr Brophy’s body.
Townsend gave evidence yesterday, revealing Mr Brophy was a childhood friend of his but claiming that he only realised this after inflicting the final wound that left him dead on the road. He also said one of Mr Brophy’s fellow burglars, who has not been identified, had a gun in his hand when Townsend came into the home.
Cross examining him today, Mr Pratt questioned that claim as well as a further statement from Townsend saying he heard someone shout “shoot him” as he drove up the road minutes after stabbing Brophy the first time. Townsend claimed he heard those words and panicked just moments before inflicting the final fatal wound to Mr Brophy.
Yet Mr Pratt, referencing muffled video footage, said officers believed the words being shouted were not “shoot him” but were actually “s***head” – and that Townsend was the one shouting them. Referring to the “shoot him” claim, Mr Pratt said: “That is an invention that you came up with afterwards to explain why you killed Jordan Brophy.”
Townsend responded by saying he was sure he heard “shoot him” and said he had “never said s***head in my life”.
He also denied further allegations from Mr Pratt that he fled the scene after realising he had fatally wounded Mr Brophy. Officers arrested him at his mother’s address nearby and Townsend told the court that he went there because the break-in and ensuing scuffle with Mr Brophy had unsettled him.
Mr Pratt said it was unlikely Townsend didn’t realise how serious the injuries were because he would have seen the broken knife blade but Townsend said he didn’t realise two pieces of it were embedded in Mr Brophy’s brain after he stabbed him. Townsend said: “I only found out at the police station that it was lodged in his head.
Mr Pratt asked: “Do you know when you left the scene how seriously you had injured him. “Didn’t you know? That’s why you left the scene isn’t it?
No, that is not it. I just wanted to get out of there, that’s all.”
The jury will receive further evidence on Monday before closing speeches in the trial begin.