McDonalds death trial - woman's grief

A teenager who watched helpless as her boyfriend was beaten by two men in a McDonald's restaurant yesterday broke down in tears as she told a court he had stepped in to protect her honour - and how it cost him his life.

A teenager who watched helpless as her boyfriend was beaten by two men in a McDonald's restaurant yesterday broke down in tears as she told a court he had stepped in to protect her honour - and how it cost him his life.

Norwich Crown Court heard that father and son Gerard and Jonathan Stonehouse “carried on beating the lifeless body” of Richard Moore after an argument flared in the Hay Hill, Norwich, branch of the fast-food chain.

The pair claim they acted in self defence but prosecutor John Farmer said their actions were excessive - especially against a “little bloke” who weighed only eight stone. He said: “They went on beating a person who to all practical purposes was already dead.”

Jemma Todd, 18, was eight-months pregnant at the time of the incident on March 21. She spoke of the misguided sense of guilt which still haunts her. The father-to-be had leapt to her defence after she accused Jonathan Stonehouse of staring at her.

She said: “Immediately after the incident I did blame myself for opening my gob. He was looking at me and it made me feel so bad, it was awful.

“Afterwards I kept repeating 'it's all my fault'. But whatever Richard did, he was trying to protect me.”

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The court was told Jonathan Stonehouse “laid into” 21-year-old Mr Moore after an exchange of words. His father joined in and they inflicted 20 separate injuries.

“He was very protective towards me and the baby and would do anything to stand up for us. But he was not the kind of person who would start a fight,” she said.

“I was trying to push them apart but I didn't want my baby to get hurt so there was nothing I could do. All I can remember is seeing Richard being punched and I didn't see him reacting.

“He fell to the ground and I could just see these men laying into him. When I got to him there was no life left in him at all. I was screaming and crying and couldn't believe what was happening.”

Miss Todd gave birth to the couple's first son a month after Mr Moore's death. He has been named Cameron Richard John Moore - the middle-name a tribute to his late father.

Earlier yesterday , Mr Farmer had told the court that during the incident an artery had been torn in Mr Moore's neck. This would have resulted in instant death. But he said a series of witnesses saw the defendants continue to rain down kicks and punches after the mortal blow.

The 48-year-old and 18-year-old, both of Woodcock Road, Norwich, deny manslaughter. They gave police “no comment” interviews but handed officers statements insisting they acted in self defence.

Mr Farmer added: “They acted together and in judging this you do not judge who threw which punch or delivered which kick. If two people involve themselves in a criminal activity then they are both equally responsible for the consequences.”

The incident happened at about 4pm when the restaurant was busy. Security camera footage showed members of the public attempting to help Mr Moore as they waited for an ambulance.

Mr Farmer said: “Rightly or wrongly, Jemma Todd felt that she was being stared at by the younger defendant and she reprehended him fairly robustly.

“Words were said but the Crown says that what essentially happened was that father and son attacked this young man.

“What you will hear from witnesses is not that they were defending themselves but they were retaliating. It is right that you can use force to defend yourself but only such force as is reasonable.”

Defence barristers said there was evidence Mr Moore had recently smoked cannabis. But Miss Todd denied accusations that he was prone to mood swings. She also denied that she was overly sensitive due to her pregnancy.

“The only time I ever saw Richard get upset was to do with his family but we would speak about that and deal with it,” she said.

The case, which could last about two weeks, continues. Both men are currently on bail on the condition they live outside Norfolk.

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