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Defence asks jury to consider defendant's reaction to masked attacker

A jury has been asked to imagine how a man accused of murder must have felt and reacted when the assailant he killed charged towards him and hit him with a torch.

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, who died following the incident at the Earl of Cornwall pub in Cippenham Lane in May.

The trial at Reading Crown Court, which began in November, has heard how on May 9, Mr Gardner planned and launched an attack on Charlie Ward over a dispute earlier that evening at the Long Barn Pub in Cippenham Lane.

Charlie Ward had thrown a pint at former pub manager Emma Mead for refusing to serve him and his wife Martina Ward, the jury has been told.

The defence says this was because the couple are travellers but the prosecution says it was because Mrs Ward was drunk, barefoot and wearing a dressing gown.

The prosecution says after Jason Gardner tracked the defendant down at the Earl of Cornwall pub and attacked him, Charlie Ward, who was with family, pulled from his pocket a Stanley knife which he stabbed Mr Gardner with 41 times before John Ward kicked, stamped and threw a table leg at him as he lay bleeding on the floor.

The defence says Mr Gardner, who wore a balaclava and had taped over his registration plate, brought the knife in question, which Charlie Ward spotted on the floor and says he used in self defence.

Addressing the jury today (Thursday), Charlie Ward’s counsel Peter Doyle said: “Imagine the sheer shock of the unexpected and the unknown.

“Just imagine, mum over there, wife across here, dad just there. This chap just comes in, masked, armed, shouting something, hitting me over the head.

“Do you think, in the agony of that, Charlie Ward was saying to himself ‘what should I do?’ How was he to know that there was only one weapon?”

He said had Charlie Ward tried to escape, he would have discovered Mr Gardner had slashed his van’s tyres.

“That’s something about the mindset of the attacker. There was to be no escape,” Mr Doyle added.

The trial continues.

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