Leeds & West Yorkshire

Friend 'tried to help' bagpiper in Marsden stabbing

Craig Hepburn
Image caption Craig Hepburn was stabbed 11 times on a night out in Marsden last year

A man who saw his bagpiper friend stabbed to death by a stranger has told a jury how he tried to help him escape.

Craig Hepburn, 19, and Connor Paton, 18, were visiting Marsden, West Yorkshire, when they were attacked last year, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Mr Paton told jurors he had been stabbed three times in the same attack that killed Mr Hepburn.

Anthony Driver, 36, of Grange Cottages, Marsden, and Luke Elliott, 22, of Main Avenue, Cowlersley, deny murder.

Mr Driver and Mr Elliott also deny charges of attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and perverting the course of justice.

'Punching and kicking'

Mr Hepburn had only arrived in Marsden a few hours earlier from his home in Linwood, Renfrewshire, when he and Mr Paton were attacked on 6 July last year.

Mr Paton told the jury that he and Mr Hepburn had been approached by two men as they were walking home from a pub.

The mood altered after the men exchanged words, according to Mr Paton.

"My view was, just walk away and Craig would walk with me," he told the court. "I didn't want anything bad to happen."

Mr Paton said as he was walking away he became aware of "punching and kicking", so turned round to help his friend.

"It happened quick," he added. He helped Mr Hepburn off the ground and was struck several times in the back, jurors were told.

The court heard Mr Paton was stabbed three times and needed hospital treatment. Mr Hepburn died from multiple stab wounds, mainly to his back.

The trial continues.

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