The defendant accused of murdering Jamie McMahon in St Giles Churchyard, Northampton, has denied being involved in the attack and says he was trying to stop the man who has already pleaded guilty to murder.
At Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday morning, the transcript of Francis’ first police interview following his arrest in October 2013 was read out. The court heard how Michael Francis, aged 33, of St James Road, claimed he had been staying with a friend while homeless on the night of Jamie McMahon’s death.
Mark Lewis, aged 19, of Clickers Drive, Upton, Northampton, has already admitted killing Mr McMahon, aged 26, in St Giles Churchyard, St Giles Street, in the early hours of October 2 last year. Francis denies the charges of murder and robbery.
In the interview, Francis said he had been asked to go into town to find cigarettes and that, when he arrived, he went to St Giles Churchyard and sat next to Mr McMahon who was already there.
Francis said that someone else approached them and a fight broke out between Mr McMahon, aged 26, and the third person, now known to be Mark Lewis.
He said: “McMahon started running away and the other man chased him. I started running after them but I tripped and when I got up I saw McMahon being kicked in the head.
“I went to check him and he was breathing, or at least his chest was moving up and down.
“I tried to stop the other guy and pull him away ...then I decided to leave it...I was panicking and in shock.”
Francis said that he had picked up Mr McMahon’s wallet, which had fallen on the floor during the fight, and that the other man followed him into Northampton town centre before they “dumped” the wallet.
During the interview, Francis said: “I wanted to get away from him and go back to where I came from...I didn’t want to go into town but I had no choice.
“I am not a murderer and I will stand by that until the day I die.”
The court also heard evidence this morning from pathologist, Dr Frances Hollingbury, who was involved in conducting the post mortem on Mr McMahon.
She reported that 15 injuries had been found on his face and head, some of which had resulted in brain damage.
Under questioning from Jonas Hankin, defending, Dr Hollingbury said that these injuries could have been caused by stamping.