One of the men blamed for the 1998 murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar today told a jury: “I never stabbed him.”
Andrew Coulter, however, admitted hitting Chhokar with a bat.
Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked Mr Coulter: “Did you stab Chhokar,” and he replied: “No. I hit him with a bat. I never stabbed him.”
He also said that he did not see Ronnie Coulter or David Montgomery carrying any weapons.
Mr Coulter told the High Court in Glasgow that he, Ronnie Coulter and David Montgomery – known as Chez – arrived at the house in Garrion Street, Overtown, around 11.30pm.
They had driven to a nearby street and then climbed over the back fence into the garden of the house Chhokar shared with his partner Elizabeth Bryce, who is also know as Liz. As Chhokar arrived home from his shift at a local restaurant , carrying an Irn Bru bottle in one hand and a takeaway in the other, the three were walking down his garden path towards him.
Mr Coulter told the jury he said: “You’d better not get the f***ing polis involved,” and Chhokar swung the bottle at him.
He added: “He swung the bottle at me and missed me. I struck him with the bat on his arm.”
Mr Coulter said that he then slipped and fell to the ground and his view of the street was impeded by the garden gate.
He added: “David went to pick me up and I did not see where Ronnie was.
Mr Prentice asked how Chhokar appeared and Mr Coulter said: “He looked all right he didn’t seem injured or nothing. He was walking. Liz Bryce came out shouting, and me and Chez ran.”
Mr Coulter told the court that as he hit Chhokar with the bat he slipped and fell and was helped up by David Montgomery.
He said the last time he saw his uncle Ronnie Coulter was seconds before he fell. Andrew Coulter added: “Ronnie just disappeared.”
When asked what he thought had happened that night Mr Coulter said: “Nothing. That was it. Just assault.”
Mr Prentice asked: “Did you think he was injured in any way?” and he replied: “No. He didn’t look as if he was injured in any way.”
At the start of Andrew Coulter’s evidence he was warned by judge Lord Matthews that he did not need to answer any questions which could implicate him in the murder of Chhokar.
The trial before Lord Matthews continues.