10:35AM, Friday 04 January 2019
A murder defendant’s claim that he suffered memory loss after a deadly pub fight came under scrutiny during his trial yesterday (Thursday).
Charlie Ward, 36, of Eltham Ave-nue, Cippenham, and his father, John Ward, 58, of Stoke Road, Slough, are standing trial for the murder of Jason Gardner, who died following a fight at the Earl of Cornwall pub in Cippenham Lane, Cippenham, in May last year.
CCTV footage previously seen by the jury at Reading Crown Court showed that, on Wednesday, May 9, Mr Gardner attacked Charlie Ward with a large torch inside the pub.
The court had heard Mr Gardner launched his attack after his girlfriend Emma Mead, the then manager of the nearby Long Barn pub, had a pint thrown over her by Charlie Ward for refusing to serve him and his wife earlier that day.
The prosecution alleges Charlie Ward then took a Stanley knife from his pocket and stabbed and slashed Mr Gardner 41 times in the arms, head and chest.
When he gave evidence himself, Charlie Ward said he did not remember the incident after Mr Gardner first attacked him.
Speaking yesterday (Thursday), consultant psychiatrist Dr Oladimeji Kareem described how a heavy blow to the head that Charlie Ward sustained in the attack may be the cause of the memory loss.
He added that the injury may also be the cause of mental issues Ward has suffered since the incident.
Dr Kareem said: “He [Charlie Ward] said he had been bedwetting.
“He talked about pressure in his head and that flashbacks and nightmares constantly showed the CCTV playing over and over in his head.”
But the extent of Mr Ward’s memory loss came under scrutiny when Dr Kareem was cross-examined by prosecutor Rossano Scamardella.
When questioned, Dr Kareem revealed that, in his initial interview with Charlie Ward in October, the accused told him that he saw and reached for the knife after Mr Gardner first attacked him.
The court heard that, when he was writing up his report, he initially quoted Charlie Ward as stating: “At that point, I used the knife on the assailant to defend myself and my family.”
But Dr Kareem said Ward, who was present as he wrote the report, asked him to remove mention of the knife.
In response to this, Mr Scamardella said: “If he’d confessed to the murder and asked you to not include it, would you have left it out?”
Dr Kareem said that in hindsight he should have tested Mr Ward’s memory more thoroughly.
The trial continues.
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