A MAN told a court he witnessed an horrific attack before a man was found dead on Blackpool beach.
Colin Dugdale and Paul Thompson are on trial at Preston Crown Court accused of murdering Leslie Bertram on the resort’s beach in South Shore in June.
And yesterday David Phayer described the moment he says he saw the pair attack Mr Bertram after the four men had gone for a walk on the Promenade.
He said he became frightened and walked off after seeing Dugdale punch Mr Bertram, 44, in the face, then get him round the neck and put him onto the sand.
Mr Phayer, who knows the defendants and initially found himself arrested on suspicion of murder, described how he then heard Thompson tell Dugdale to “put him in a sleeper” – which he believed meant make him unconscious.
After that, he told the court he saw Thompson jump on Mr Bertram’s head.
Mr Phayer said: “I was frightened, I said ‘stop it now’. I just walked off then.”
When the two defendants caught up with Mr Phayer, he told the court they said Mr Bertram had “gone”, and later admitted they had strangled him.
When he was initially arrested Mr Phayer denied seeing anything, and admitted to the jury: “I was speaking up for Paul because I think a lot about him.”
But he revealed what he had allegedly saw during a second police interview.
Thompson, 44, of Woodfield Road, Blackpool, and Dugdale, 27, of Chesterfield Road, Blackpool, both deny murdering Mr Bertram.
Mr Bertram’s body was discovered between Central and South piers at around 4am on June 16, and a post-mortem examination revealed he died as a result of head and neck injuries.
Both defendants are said to blame each other over what happened.
Under cross examination, Mr Phayer said he had not seen anyone squeezing Mr Bertram’s neck. The defence suggested in his police interview Mr Phayer had been frightened he would be charged with murder.