Chhokar murder accused ‘joked about throwing victim off bridge’

Surjit Singh Chhokar was stabbed to death in Overtown, Wishaw, on 4 November 1998. Picture: David Gillanders

Surjit Singh Chhokar was stabbed to death in Overtown, Wishaw, on 4 November 1998. Picture: David Gillanders

Murder accused Ronnie Coulter and his nephew were laughing and joking as they spoke of throwing restaurant worker Surjit Singh Chhokar off a bridge, a court has heard.

Donna Campbell, 33, claimed they also talked of hitting him on the knees with a bat and battering him.

I remember one of them, either Ronnie or Andrew, saying they were going to batter him

Donna Campbell

She was giving evidence at the trial of Coulter, 48, from Wishaw, who denies murdering Surjit Singh Chhokar – who was known by everyone as Chhokar – in Garrion Street, Overtown, Wishaw, on 4 November 1998 by stabbing him.

Miss Campbell told prosecutor Alex Prentice QC that the conversation took place in Coulter’s flat in Caplaw Towers, Overtown, on the evening of 4 November 4, 1998, shortly before Chhokar was stabbed to death.

At the time she was 15 and had been Andrew Coulter’s girlfriend for a couple of weeks.

The court was told that she and a friend Corrine Chambers were in the flat with Ronnie and Andrew Coulter and the men were talking about meeting Chhokar later that night concerning a £100 Giro cheque.

Initially when she was asked about the conversation Miss Campbell said: “I can’t remember. I just remember laughing and joking about Chhokar.

Mr Prentice asked: “What was said,” and she replied: “It was about Chhokar getting hit on the knees with a bat.”

She was asked what else was said and said she could not remember.

Mr Prentice took her through a statement she gave to police on 3 August 2012 in which she stated: “Ronnie and Andrew were laughing and joking about going to see Chhokar. I remember one of them, either Ronnie or Andrew, saying they were going to batter him,” and asked if that was the truth.

Miss Campbell replied: “Yes.”

She was then asked if she could remember anything else of the conversation and said: “There was something about throwing Chhokar off a bridge.”

The jury has already heard that Ronnie and Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery went to meet Chhokar at 11:30pm in Garrion Street.

They encountered him as he arrived home by car after finishing a shift at the restaurant where he worked. Minutes later he lay dying in the street.

Ronnie Coulter has lodged a special defence blaming his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery. Both men have given evidence in the trial and deny having anything to do with the killing of Chhokar.

The trial continues.

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