Glasgow & West Scotland

Man denies confessing to murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar

Surjit Singh Chhokar Image copyright PA
Image caption Surjit Singh Chhokar died in 1998

A convicted killer has denied confessing to his uncle that he had murdered restaurant worker Surjit Singh Chhokar by stabbing him.

Andrew Coulter, 35, told a jury at the High Court in Glasgow the alleged confession never happened.

He was giving evidence at the trial of his uncle Ronnie Coulter, who denies murdering Surjit Singh Chhokar in 1998.

Ronnie Coulter, 48, is on trial for a second time after being acquitted of the murder in 1999.

He has lodged a special defence blaming his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery, who is known by his nickname Chez.

Mr Chhokar died in Overtown, North Lanarkshire, on 4 November 1998.

Andrew Coulter was giving evidence for a third day in the trial of his uncle, who is from Wishaw.

Confession 'lies'

Defence QC Donald Findlay said: "After Ronnie was acquitted of murdering Chhokar, at some time the two of you were out of prison you had a conversation about the events involving Mr Chhokar. Do you remember a conversation?"

Andrew Coulter replied: "I never spoke to Ronnie when I got out of prison."

Mr Findlay went on: "You had a conversation about what happened that night. It was a short conversation. You weren't speaking and Ronnie said: 'Was it Chez?' and you said: 'No.'

"And he said: 'Was it you?' and you said: 'Yes.'"

Andrew Coulter responded: "No that's lies. That never happened."

Previous conviction

Mr Finlay told Andrew Coulter that he was a liar and had murdered Chhokar, but the witness replied: "I didn't. You're doing your best for your client and I respect that.

"If you're believing everything he says then he's taking you for a mug, just like he's taken everyone else for a mug all these years."

The jury has already heard Andrew Coulter was convicted of killing Patrick Kelly in 1999 by stabbing him in the leg, and had been sentenced to six years' detention.

David Montgomery, 39, from Motherwell, previously told the jury that he drove Andrew and Ronnie Coulter to Mr Chhokar's home in Garrion Street, Overtown, on the day he died.

He said a meeting had been arranged between Andrew Coulter and 32-year-old Mr Chhokar over a stolen Giro cheque.

Ronnie Coulter denies all the charges against him. The trial before judge Lord Matthews continues.

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