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Man accused of Cippenham pub murder denies having knife in pocket

A 36-year-old man charged with murder has told how he reached for a weapon on the ground during a pub brawl in Cippenham, thinking a masked assailant would use it on him.

Charlie Ward, 36, of Eltham Avenue, Slough and his 58-year-old father John Ward of Stoke Road, Slough, are both standing trial for the murder of Jason Gardner following a fight in the Earl of Cornwall pub in Cippenham Lane in May. Both men deny the charge.

The trial at Reading Crown Court has heard how Mr Gardner stormed into the Earl of Cornwall on the evening of May 9 and attacked Charlie Ward with a large torch, who stabbed his assailant 41 times.

John Ward is accused of joining in with the attack, wrestling, kicking, stamping on and throwing a table leg at the deceased.

Mr Gardner, who died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford the following day, planned his attack after his girlfriend Emma Mead had a pint thrown at her by Charlie Ward at the Long Barn pub in Cippenham Lane earlier that evening for refusing to serve his wife, Martina Ward.

The prosecution says this was because Martina Ward was wearing a dressing gown and no shoes, but the defence says they were refused because they were travellers, with Miss Mead only realising having served Charlie Ward a pint.

Giving evidence yesterday (Wednesday) Ward said: “It made me feel bad that because of who I was I couldn’t even get served in a pub.”

He said after throwing the pint, he was surrounded by people and feared being attacked, leading to him pulling his mobile phone from his pocket in preparation to give to his wife to call the police, however the prosecution says Ward pulled for a Stanley knife.

The jury heard how the confrontation diffused and that Mr Gardner and Charlie Ward spoke outside the pub,

After explaining he had been discriminated against, Ward says Mr Gardner told him his family were travellers.

The prosecution has said Ward pulled for a Stanley knife at this moment – though Ward said he again pulled out his phone, not a blade – and threatened to ‘slash’ Miss Mead’s face.

Ward denies ever having a knife in his pocket on the day of the incident.

Describing Mr Gardner hitting him on the head with a torch later that night, Ward said: “The pain was unreal to my head, everything went black and blurry.”

He said he remembers picking up something ‘silver and shiny’ from the floor before running towards Mr Gardner.

“In my mind he was going to use it on me. I wouldn’t let that masked man attack me with it. I was just defending myself,” he said.

Describing being arrested in the pub, Ward said: “I felt really really bad. I was shaking. I couldn’t believe what happened.”

The trial continues.

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