Defendants blame one another in Great Yarmouth murder trial

Two men accused of murdering a 52-year-old in Great Yarmouth blame one another for the killing, Norwich Crown Court has heard.

Archibald Kerr, 52, was found with injuries comparable to those a person would suffer in a 'bad traffic accident' in the hallway of his flat in Deneside, Yarmouth, in the early hours of January 31. It is alleged he was attacked by two men looking to take revenge on his son, James Flynn.

Mr Kerr died two months later at the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, from pneumonia linked to his injuries.

Darren Peake, 37, from Gloucester Avenue, Gorleston, and William Rowley, 37, of Wellington Road, Gorleston, both deny murder.

Giving evidence, Peake said that earlier that evening he had tried to break up a fight between Mr Flynn and Rowley, whose nickname was Wazzo, and claimed that Mr Flynn had glassed Rowley.

He said he left the nightspot with Rowley who was bleeding from cuts he received and said: 'I tried to calm him down.'

Peake said that they were walking back to Rowley's brother's home when the house where Mr Flynn's father lived was pointed out.

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He said without warning Rowley had rushed off to the house and he saw him punch Mr Kerr with a lot of force. 'I saw him throw a punch and saw the person go back. He was poleaxed.'

He assumed the person was Mr Kerr, who was a friend, and said: 'At first I was bewildered. I could not see them then I started to run. I see the garden wall and Wazzo (Rowley)bent over punching .'

He said he leaned over a wall and pulled Rowley back and realised he had something in his hand which last turned out to be a fire extinguisher. He added: 'I could not tell what it was. It all happened too fast.'

He said he had not stayed at the scene but had later phoned Rowley to ask why he had done it. When he got home he found he had some of Rowley's blood on his clothes, so he had put them in the sink.

After he was arrested he had phoned Mr Flynn to say he was sorry about his father.

He said that if he had known how badly injured Mr Kerr was he would have stayed at the scene: 'I wish I had done more.'

He said at first he had not told police the truth as he was scared of Rowley but after speaking to his parents and his solicitor he then claimed he then told police what happened.

But when Rowley took to the witness stand yesterday he gave a different version of events.

He said that after the fight with Flynn he had headed home. He said he wanted to 'settle the score' with Flynn but felt no anger towards Mr Kerr.

He said: 'I wanted to tell Archie what his son had done to me. We were passing his house so I knocked on his door.

'I asked him if he had seen his son and he seemed offended by the question.'

Rowley added that he wanted to have a fair fight with Flynn: 'I told Archie to tell James that I would see him tomorrow without any tools and we would have a square go at one another.

'He stepped forward and said 'have a square go at me'. I punched him and knocked him to the floor.

'I made off and later I spoke to Peake on the phone. He seemed to be boasting and he said 'I just shut him up'.'

He added: 'I am ashamed of what I did, I shouldn't have hit him.'

After the attack Rowley went to Glasgow and did not return for more than a week, although he knew the police wanted to talk to him about the attack.

He said: 'I didn't realise how serious it was, I didn't know he was severely injured.'

The trial continues.

ben.kendall@archant.co.uk