Scots piper death: Friend tells jury of attack

The trial is continuing at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: Complimentary/CC

The trial is continuing at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: Complimentary/CC

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THE friend of a talented bagpiper who died after being stabbed 11 times by a stranger in the street described the deadly altercation to a jury today.

Craig Hepburn, 19, died and Connor Paton, 18, was injured after they were attacked in Marsden, West Yorkshire, just hours after arriving in the village to visit Mr Hepburn’s uncle.

Leeds Crown Court has heard that the pair from Linwood, near Paisley, Renfrewshire, were walking back from a night at pubs in Marsden where Mr Hepburn had been playing his bagpipes on Friday July 6 last year.

Mr Paton, who was giving evidence today, said they were approached by two men who said something to them, though he added that he did not know why his friend was attacked.

He said: “They said something to us first. That’s when Craig said something back.”

The mood altered, he said, adding: “It changed from what it was. I wouldn’t say he (Mr Hepburn) was aggressive.

“My view was just walk away and Craig would walk with me.

“I didn’t want anything bad to happen.”

Mr Paton said he had begun to walk away and was aware of “punching and kicking”, so turned round to help his friend. “It happened quick,” he added.

He helped Mr Hepburn off the ground and was struck several times in the back, jurors were told.

Mr Paton was stabbed three times and needed hospital treatment, the court heard. Mr Hepburn died from multiple stab wounds, mainly to his back.

Police said Mr Paton reported that one of the men was carrying a knife similar to a Stanley knife, but he told the court he could not remember telling officers.

Anthony Driver, 36, and Luke Elliott, 22, both deny murder and attempted murder.

Peter Moulson QC, prosecuting, has told jurors it was not up to the prosecution to establish the motive for the attack.

But he pointed out to the jury of four men and eight women that Mr Hepburn was wearing a Manchester City football shirt on the night he died.

The prosecutor also said Driver posted on his Facebook account two months before the incident: “I hate city more than police. Ha Ha. That’s saying summat.”

Today, the court heard that Mr Hepburn was “swinging his arms about, talking about Glasgow Rangers” as the pair walked home.

The court has also heard how witnesses remember Driver telling them he had been involved in an argument over football shirts and Elliott had stabbed someone.

Mr Moulson told the jury: “We say Driver and Elliott were in it together.”

Driver, of Grange Cottages, Marsden, and Elliott, of Main Avenue, Cowlersley, each deny murder, attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and perverting the course of justice.

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