Morrisons murder trial: Best friend of victim left ‘broken’ having staved off ‘animal’ attackers

Morrisons at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Morrisons at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The best friend of a man who died after being assaulted at a Morrisons supermarket told how he came under attack when he tried to defend his friend and said he had been left 'broken' by what happened.

Floral tributes left outside Morrisons in Wymondham. Picture: Kathryn Cross

Floral tributes left outside Morrisons in Wymondham. Picture: Kathryn Cross - Credit: Archant

Leo Wardrop, 27, was at the store in Wymondham, on July 17, when Nick Rogers was attacked by Lee Monk and his uncle John Monk shortly after 7.30pm.

Mr Rogers died in hospital the following day aged 26.

Both Lee Monk, 20, of Silfield Road, Wymondham, and John Monk, 44, of Albini Way, Wymondham, are on trial after pleading not guilty to murder.

Giving evidence via video link at Norwich Crown Court Mr Wardrop told the court he had met up with Mr Rogers as they planned to go to the gym but then decided to go for a run instead.

Nick Rogers, who died at Morrisons in Wymondham.

Nick Rogers, who died at Morrisons in Wymondham. - Credit: Archant

They then popped into Morrisons to get bottled water and an apple but did not get a chance to pay as they saw Lee Monk in the store.

He said a girl with Lee Monk tried to hold him back but said Lee Monk and Mr Rogers walked towards each other and had been gesturing to each other.

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He said Lee Monk was then joined by his uncle: 'Lee was punching him before John got to him,'

Mr Wardrop said that Lee had thrown a punch which Mr Rogers had managed to dodge but then said that both Lee Monk and his uncle started attacking him.

'John Monk started punching him and Lee Monk was holding his arm while punching him.'

He said he grabbed John Monk by the neck and pulled him off

'He started trying to punch and kick me.'

He added that John Monk grabbed him by his T-shirt and ripped it off his chest, and he was then put to the floor.

He said he did not remember if he had tripped but said he injured his leg.

He then saw both Lee and John Monk quickly leave the store.'

He said he had then gone to where he had last seen his best friend Mr Rogers.

'I ran round and tried to wake him up off the floor.'

When shown some of the CCTV footage of the incident at the store he swore and called the defendants 'animals.'

Asked how he felt about what happened by Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, he tearfully replied: 'Broken.'

Asked if he had grabbed John Monk to pull him way he replied: 'Yes to try to protect Nick.'

Cross-examined by Jude Durr, who appears for Lee Monk, Mr Wardrop denied he had been looking for Lee Monk or wanted to 'dish out' some justice: 'We did not throw any punches. There was no intention to have any fight.'

He added: 'The fact is that I did not throw a punch, neither did Nick, That's why he is dead.'

Mr Durr also put to Wardrop his previous convictions for violence which he accepted but denied he had been with Mr Rogers to 'back him up.'

Andrew Thompson, for John Monk, accepted Mr Rogers was known as 'Big Nick' as he was six foot five inches tall and agreed that John Monk was much shorter and older than both him and Mr Rogers.

Asked if he expected his friend to be alright after the fight Mr Wardrop, who kept becoming emotional, replied: 'He was not. He was dead.'

He said he had been in shock about what happened and said: 'I am trying to forget that day as much as I can.'

He added that he had grabbed John Monk and told him that it should be 'one on one.'

'There were two people beating Nick up. It was not a fair fight. It should have been one on one.'

He said that he thought if there was a fight it would be outside and said: 'People don't normally fight in supermarkets because of the cameras inside.'

The trial continues.