MURDER TRIAL LATEST: Defendant claims he found flatmate collapsed at the bottom of the stairs

A widower accused of beating his'˜vulnerable' friend to death in a drunken rage told police he had crawled into the garden after he found him collapsed at the bottom of the stairs.

Thursday, 28th June 2018, 3:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 6:20 pm
The scene on Clifton Road
The scene on Clifton Road

Geoffrey Howard, 64, denies murdering "vulnerable" George Crawley, 63 at the home they shared on Clinton Avenue in Blackpool.

It is alleged he attacked him after the pair, in drink, had fallen out which such ferocity a passer by had heard them.

However, Howard told officers he had left Mr Crawley on the settee after he said he was going to take his tablets and go to bed.

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He claims when he returned home he found him on the floor at the bottom of the stairs.

A transcript of his police interview was read to jurors at Preston's Sessions House Court as his trial continues.

He said: " George was sitting on the settee. I'd got some whiskey. He said he'd just had his sleeping tablets.

"He said he was going to bed but he didn't, he sat up."

He said he finished his can and went out, and when he returned, George was " at the bottom of the stairs and there was loads of blood".

Howard added: " I asked if he needed an ambulance but he said: 'No, I'll just rest for a bit'.

"I actually got a cloth out of the kitchen and bathed his head."

He told officers he had tried to get his friend up but that he fell again and banged himself.

He claims Mr Crawley said he wanted to have a cigarette and crawled to the back door and out into the garden.

During the police interview with murder squad officer DC Mark Armstrong, Howard said he had gone into the garden to try and get his friend in because it was raining, but couldn't move him.

He then explained he had gone back into the house and drank a can before going into the garden again and finding him on his back.

He said: " I went back and said 'get up' and I tried to pick him up but he just wouldn't move.

"I just saw his face and he, well I just knew he was dead."

Howard told police his account was "the gospel truth."

Scottish born Mr Crawley was found in the back yard in the early hours of January 15, having suffered serious injuries to his head, chest, and limbs.

He had 15 separate fractures to 11 of his ribs and a fracture to his sternum which prosecutors say are consistent with a punching, kicking or stamping assault.

He also had a fracture to his jaw that would have required ‘significant force’, facial injuries and a bleed on the brain.

The case continues.

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