Jurors in the trial of a 15 year old girl accused of murdering Spalding man Warren Free were today (Friday) told that she had acted in self defence.
David Mason QC, who represents the girl, told the jury at Lincoln Crown Court that his client and other teenagers with her in the middle of the night at a Spalding park were left in fear when Mr Free emerged from his home armed with a metal pole threatening: “I know how to beat up little girls.”
They were not looking for trouble. Trouble came to them. They didn’t intend to get themselves in a fight. The fight came to themDavid Mason QC
He described Mr Free as a six foot tall man who was “stoned” after smoking cannabis throughout the day and who had swung the pole at the youngsters.
Mr Mason, whose client is alleged to have struck Warren Free four times with a metal pole after snatching the weapon from him, said: “A witness heard the screams of the girls. He thought one of them was being raped. They were screams of terror. They were clearly frightened. They are not tough, hardened villains. He was an adult. They were children.”
Mr Mason said one of the defendants, Jake Edwards, acted “bravely” in taking Mr Free to the ground.
“He put his own safety at risk to protect the other young people in that group. He was brave. Very brave.”
Mr Mason added “The people on trial in this case are teenagers. They are children. On the night they were all 14 or 15 apart from Jake Edwards who was 17. They are kids. The majority of them have never been in any sort of trouble with the police.
“They were not looking for trouble. Trouble came to them. They didn’t intend to get themselves in a fight. The fight came to them.
“They had no weapons. They had not taken alcohol or drugs. It has never been suggested that they took anything at all.”
Timothy Spencer QC, representing a 14 year old boy also accused of murder, said the only eye witness for the prosecution described his client as standing away from the attack.
The witness had earlier told the jury that Mr Spencer’s client was not involved in any violence.
He said his client was an innocent bystander along with another boy who was present at the scene but was not prosecuted.
The prosecution alleges that 43 year old Mr Free suffered fatal injuries after he confronted a group of teenagers in the early hours of the morning about noise they were making in a park at the rear of his property in Coronation Close, Spalding.
It is alleged that Mr Free was kicked, punched and stamped on by the teenagers before a 15 year old girl struck him over the head several times with a metal pole.
He went home to bed but friends were later unable to rouse him. An ambulance was called and he was airlifted to hospital but passed away within 24 hours from a head injury.
Six teenagers all deny the murder of Warren Free on August 29, 2014. Three of the defendants, including a girl, were 14 at the time while the others were a girl of 15 and a 16 year old together with Jake Edwards, now 18.
A boy, who was 14 at the time, denies a charge of perverting the course of justice relating to the disposal of the metal pole in the Coronation Channel in Spalding. A second boy , aged 16 at the time, has admitted perverting the course of justice.
All six of the defendants elected not to give evidence.
The trial continues on Monday.