Youngster accused of Christopher Hewett murder speaks of involvement in fight
- Credit: Herts police
A 15-year-old boy accused of the murder of a young father in Stevenage has told a jury how he became involved in a fight that led to Chris Hewett’s death.
The boy told a hushed Luton Crown Court on Friday (July 16) how he swung a baseball bat at a cousin of Mr Hewett's, but he said had never wanted anything to happen to him.
The youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is on trial with a 17-year-old. Both have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Hewett in Meadow Way, Stevenage on February 12, 2021.
Answering questions put to him by his barrister, Ignatius Hughes QC, the boy said he and other youths went to a local Shell garage where alcohol was bought and he drank some in an underpass.
He agreed he had also smoked ‘weed'.
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The boy said his 17-year-old co-accused and another youth then “went off somewhere” and he and the others decided to make their way towards the Bedwell area.
He said he was by some bin sheds at the nearby shops when he saw Mr Hewett and his cousin, Terry Wales, walk past.
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At the start of the trial, the jury heard how Mr Hewett and Mr Wales were making their way to Mr Hewett's sister’s house when they passed a group of youths.
Prosecutor Paul Cavin QC said words were exchanged, with one accusing the victim of sending his mother “dodgy messages”.
Mr Cavin said Mr Hewett replied that he didn’t know what they were talking about and walked on with his cousin.
“As they approached the front door in Meadow Way, the group was behind them.”
He said the 15-year-old was holding a baseball bat and delivered a blow to Mr Wales’ elbow. Mr Hewett received a blow from the bat and was grappling with the 15-year-old, when the 17-year-old is alleged to have come from behind and made a number of stabbing motions.
The 15-year-old told the court there was an exchange of words with Mr Hewett.
He said the two men continued walking, but it was Mr Wales who was laughing and “making comments” which he said “made me feel angry”.
The boy told the court: “Because Terry was laughing, I walked towards him.”
He said he knew a baseball bat had been earlier hidden in a bush by one of his friends who had shown him the location.
He told the jury: “I got it out of the bush and started walking towards [Terry Wales]."
However, moments later he said he had calmed down and so he decided to take the baseball bat and leave it at his home.
The boy said it was at this point that his 17-year-old co-accused and another youth caught up with him. He said he didn’t know the 17-year-old had a knife on him that night as they walked along.
He then told the court: “Terry must have seen us and shouted at us ‘What are you going to do then? Think you’re a big boy?'
“He took his coat off as he was going down some steps and making comments saying 'What are you going to do?'”
The boy’s barrister asked him: “Who were you cross at?”
He replied: “Terry.”
“You hit him with the bat, didn’t you,” said the lawyer.
“Yes,” he responded. He was then asked: “Did you want to cause Terry serious injury.”
“Not serious,” the boy answered.
He added that he didn’t want to cause anyone else serious injury.
The barrister then asked him: “Did you want to hurt Chris at all?”
“Not at all,” he replied.
Mr Hughes then asked him: “Did you want anyone else to hurt Chris?"
The boy said that, having struck out with the bat, Mr Hewett grabbed hold of it and got him in a headlock.
“I couldn’t see what was going on, there was a lot of shouting,” he said.
He then told the court: “I think he (Mr Hewett) fell back into a door. The struggle had moved closer to the door with me being swung around and then Chris let go of me. He shouted that he had been stabbed.”
Asked by his barrister: “Did you have any idea why he was saying that?” The boy replied: “No.”
When asked if he had witnessed anyone stab Mr Hewett, he said: "I hadn’t seen nothing.”
The boy told the court the youths around him began running off and he ran too, before deciding he would go back.
He said it was then that the 17-year-old came up to him saying they needed to go. He continued to state that as they fled the scene, the other youth then told him: “’I had to stab him to get him off you.’ I asked him if he actually stabbed him. I was shocked.”
He went on: “When I found out I regretted it and I wished I had never gone up to Terry.”
Mr Hughes then asked the boy: “When you swung the bat, if you had known someone else was going to cause someone really serious harm would you have done it?”
“No,” replied the boy.
Cross-examined by Michael Speak for the prosecution, the boy said he had grabbed the bat from the bushes “because Terry is a big grown man” who he said was “winding” him up.
He said he wanted to confront Mr Wales “and show him I was not a little lad”.
Earlier the court was told that after the youths ran off, Robyn Hewett opened her door and saw her brother being held up by Mr Wales.
Mr Cavin described the house as a “scene of considerable horror” with Mr Hewett lying on the floor covered in blood. He had collapsed and was immediately gasping for breath.
The prosecutor said: “There was a large wound to his friend’s side which Mr Wales tried to compress. It was clear to him that Mr Hewett was struggling for breath and very shortly it was his view he died in his arms.”
An ambulance crew was called and he was taken to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, where he was pronounced dead at 10.18pm.
The 15-year-old and the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny murder.
A third defendant Ryan Lee, 19, of Wildwood Lane, Stevenage denies assisting offenders. It is alleged he arranged for them to travel to Wakefield in West Yorkshire after the killing.