A traveler was battered to death with a plasterer’s whisk at an M25 service station and apparently was a cousin of the men who killed him, a court heard today.
Quhey Saunders, 20, pulled into Cobham Services to buy drinks with friends after appearing at an all weekend wedding party in Wales.
Labourers Simon Baker, 22, and Mikey Coyle, 21, were already there and apparently murdered Mr Saunders after a scuffle around the pumps and in the kiosk area.
Witness Paddy Connor had been to the wedding with the victim, who was his nephew, and they were returning home in a Ford Focus on the Monday morning on June 26.
Also in the car was Mr Collins’ wife Lizzie and their friend Marian Barbu.
Mr Connor said he had been drinking in the car and wanted to stop at the services to buy more beer.
He said he spotted Baker and Coyle’s van with ladders on top and then noticed the two men who he had not seen for years in the shop.
‘They are related to Quhey by my father’s side. They are second cousins he explained.
‘I walked up to them. I asked if everything was okay and they said yes. I carried on looking at the beers.’
Mr Connor said a spat started between the victim and the two men.
Asked what had caused it he said: ‘I haven’t the foggiest clue.’
‘I turned round and I heard my wife shouting: ‘Call the police.’
‘It looked like they were having a few words.’ Mr Saunders shredded his top off as the confrontation with the two men continued.
‘There was a fight. I tried to stop it,’ Mr Connor said.
‘I said to them: ‘You’re cousins, you’re related.’ He said he tried to restrain Coyle but was kicked in the head and left dizzy.
He said there was then a ‘punch up’ by the petrol pumps involving the three men.
‘They had a bit of a brawl. There wasn’t a lot in it,’ he said.
Mr Connor said he then saw Baker and Coyle grab a shovel and the plasterer’s whisk from their van.
He shouted: ‘Boys, I know your family – please stop it.’
But during another confrontation in the shop, Baker hit Mr Saunders over the head with the whisk and killed him, it is claimed.
CCTV footage showed the initial stages of the brawl and the two men running back to the van, but the moment Mr Saunders died is not caught on camera.
Mr Connor said when he saw Mr Saunders lying on the floor of the shop he thought he was just knocked out.
‘I went running into the shop. I said: ‘You dirty bastards, what did you do that for.’
‘Quhey was out cold. He was lying face down.
‘I was quite rude. I said: ‘You dirty tramps, you bastards.’
Prosecutors claim the pair were ‘spoiling’ for a fight when they drove to the service station and exchanged ‘heated words’ with Mr Saunders.
Baker, of Ivy Hatch Residential Site, Green Lane, Outwood, Redhill, Surrey, and Coyle, of 53 Howsman Barnes, Kingston, both deny murder.
They claim Mr Saunders was the aggressor and he was killed when they acted in self-defence.
The trial continues.