Tuesday, 11 September 2007

SHEFFIELD: Teenagers 'battered disabled man to death'

Teenagers 'battered disabled man to death'

TWO schoolboys brutally murdered a partially-sighted man who was so terrified of making himself a target for yobs that he refused to carry a white stick, a court heard.
They are accused of subjecting slightly built Colin Greenwood, 45, who was registered disabled and had lost so much of his sight he should have carried a white stick, to an assault which included punching him to the ground, walking on his body and both stamping on and kicking his head.

Both boys were aged 14 at the time and allegedly attacked Mr Greenwood in full view of witnesses near the Middlewood tram terminus in north Sheffield before walking off to gloat.

Mr Greenwood had kicked out at one of the defendants after they pretended to punch him and threatened to stab him with a penknife as he tried to make his way home from his partner's house in Sheffield, taunting which had left him cowering in fear.

Their response was to launch a sustained kicking and punching attack against him, with one punching him to the ground then kicking his forehead as he tried to get up, a blow which caused his head to bounce off the pavement, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

After the boys left, Mr Greenwood struggled to his feet but fell over again, hitting his head on the ground with a hard blow.

Despite the ordeal he was able to get on a tram and then a bus, but fell as he got off and was only then taken to hospital by ambulance, said prosecutor Peter Kelson, QC.

Mr Greenwood, of Southey Green, Sheffield, died in the early hours of the following morning from a brain injury caused by bleeding which created too much pressure and was inoperable.

Both boys, one now aged 15, have denied murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. They cannot be identified for legal reasons and are being allowed to sit outside the dock during their trial because of their age.

Mr Kelson told a jury that even if the fatal bleeding was caused by one of Mr Greenwood's falls after the initial attack, the prosecution case was that their actions had contributed sufficiently to his death to warrant guilty verdicts.

"The Crown case is that both had the intent to cause him really serious injury. You can be sure any fall he sustained was directly caused by this attack itself," he said.

"The brutality of this attack speaks for itself."

Both boys were arrested within days of the attack. A post- mortem examination of Mr Greenwood's body concluded death was due to a brain injury but also revealed other areas of bruising, along with broken ribs. According to the prosecution, those who sustain such brain injuries can expect a "lucid interval" where the body copes with the effects of the injury, before their condition is subjected to rapid deterioration.

One witness expected to appear during the course of the trial told police she had heard Mr Greenwood shouting "no" while the assault went on.

A series of people, including children and adults, told police they had seen the assault, which happened on the evening of April 13 this year.

Witnesses who saw the youths after the assault told police they were "effectively boasting about what they had done" and had later been speculating about the length of sentence they might be given.

In initial police interviews, one youth denied involvement but later both filed defence statements admitting they had been involved, Mr Kelson said.

One allegedly said the intention had been to tease Mr Greenwood but the situation had escalated when the deceased kicked out. He accepted punching and kicking the man and the second admitted kicking him in the side of the face, according to the Crown.


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