Wiltshire

Baseball bat murder trial: Strike was 'self-defence'

Paul Mills Image copyright Family handout/Wiltshire Police
Image caption Former soldier Paul Mills suffered brain injuries in the attack in 2006 and died at home in 2017

A man accused of murdering an ex-soldier 13 years ago has told a court he hit him with a baseball bat in self-defence.

At Salisbury Crown Court, Neil Sutherland, 34, denied murdering Paul Mills, 44, who was attacked in Southwick, Wiltshire, in 2006.

Mr Mills suffered brain damage causing epileptic seizures until his death in 2017.

Mr Sutherland has previously served four years in prison for the attack.

He told the court Mr Mills approached him as he sat in a car in a lay-by and began "hustling" him for money by trying to sell him the bat.

'Walloped him'

"He put the bat through the window, gesturing and being a bit irritating," Mr Sutherland, from Trowbridge, said.

He said Mr Mills then "walloped him" around the head with his hand when he got out the car.

"He was losing it, proper off it," Mr Sutherland - who served time in prison for grievous bodily harm for the same attack - said.

He described how he ran to his father's house but was driven back to the lay-by by his dad.

When they arrived, Mr Sutherland said he "panicked" thinking Mr Mills was going to "finish what he had started before".

Mr Sutherland said he picked up the bat and during a struggle "swung the bat at him, the bat did hit Paul".

He told the court his father told him to get into his van as Mr Mills walked away "in a rage".

The trial continues.

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