Devon

Tanis Bhandari death: Murder-accused told police 'he can die'

Tanis Bhandari
Image caption Tanis Bhandari was stabbed twice in the attack, Plymouth Crown Court has heard

A man accused of murdering a builder on New Year's Day told police "he can die all he likes, I don't care", a court has heard.

Donald Pemberton, 21, denies murdering Tanis Bhandari, 27, who had left a pub in Tamerton Foliot, in Devon.

Mr Bhandari was stabbed twice in the attack, Plymouth Crown Court has heard.

The trial was told he was wounded after meeting two men, who were armed with a knife and axe, and the scene was "like a massacre".

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Donald Pemberton, 21, denies murdering Tanis Bhandari, 27, who had left a pub with friends in Tamerton Foliot, in Devon

The court heard Mr Bhandari and his group of friends had left the King's Arms pub in the early hours of New Year's Day when they were approached by the two defendants, Mr Pemberton and Ryan Williams, who asked for a cigarette.

Simon Laws, prosecuting, said the group refused and, according to one of the women in the group, one of the defendants "pulled out an axe".

'Blood, fear and confusion'

The witness said the man with the axe lunged at them and the group responded by jumping on him and pinning him down to defend themselves.

The other defendant was stabbing at the group with a knife, the witness said.

Mr Laws said Mr Bhandari was stabbed twice in the back and died at the scene and a number of other members of the group were seriously injured.

The scene was "like a massacre", said the witness.

Image caption The court heard that the group had left the King's Arms pub in the early hours of New Year's Day when they were approached by the two defendants

"There was a lot of blood, fear, panic and confusion," said Mr Laws.

A neighbour said she heard screaming and saw a man "swinging a knife", the court was told.

A police sergeant called the scene "the most distressing and horrific that he had encountered".

'Lies exposed'

Mr Bhandari, who had a 12cm (5in) deep stab wound in his back, died from loss of blood, the court heard.

His blood was found on a jacket belonging to Mr Williams, said Mr Laws, but Mr Williams had told police he was not at the scene.

Mr Laws said the blood and other DNA evidence showed that Mr Williams' "lies have been exposed".

He had been armed with a knife and stabbed Mr Bhandari, while Mr Pemberton had been armed with an axe that was found in his tracksuit trousers after he was arrested, the court heard.

Image caption Dozens of flowers and tributes were left at the scene of the attack

Mr Pemberton was arrested by police with blood on his face and said: "He can die all he likes, I don't care" and claimed to police he was the "victim of an unprovoked attack".

Mr Laws said both defendants were "in it together and share responsibility for its awful outcome".

Jurors have been shown photographs of Mr Pemberton with weapons.

Mr Pemberton, of Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes; and Mr Williams, 22, of Haydon Grove, St Budeaux, Plymouth; both deny murdering Mr Bhandari.

They also deny three counts each of wounding with intent, and one count each of actual bodily harm, in relation to four other men who were injured.

The case continues.

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