Liam Holden murder trial: “Attack took less than twenty seconds”

A LOCAL man died in the arms of his girlfriend after being punched and kicked to death on a night out, a court heard.

The trial into the murder of Liam Holden who died after being attacked in a car park near Morrisons on London Road, Grays on 10 March, began at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday, 18 September.

Owen Wood, now aged 24, and Ryan Wood, 21, brothers both from Godman Road in Grays deny murdering Mr Holden. The trial is expected to last at least three weeks.

After the 2.30am attack Mr Holden was taken to QueensHospital in Romford but died a short time later. The post mortem examination showed he died of head injuries.

Father-of-one Mr Holden, 35, from Grays, had been on a night out with his partner Mandy Patient, family and friends to celebrate a birthday at TGI Friday’s and Las Iguanas at Lakeside before going to the Euro Lounge in Grays.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson told the jury of seven women and five men that Mr Holden was a victim of a “ferocious attack”.

Four days after the attack Ryan Wood handed himself into the police. His brother Owen went on the run and was arrested on 15 March in Grimsby.

The jury was told Mr Holden and his partner of 15 years Mandy Patient left the nightclub after Miss Patient had a disagreement with staff over an incident in the toilet.

Mr Jackson said Owen told a friend he acted in self defence and said Ryan had nothing to do with it. Owen later admitted to police he had “gone over the top” and “felt sick that someone had died”.

Giving evidence Miss Patience told the court: “My door was kicked in, a young boy stood there staring at me. He said ‘cokehead’ at me. I’ve never touched drugs in my life. I screamed and shouted, I was horrified that anyone would do that to me.”

The court on Thursday, 19 September heard the couple then went to leave. Miss Patient told the court as they were leaving they told the bouncers about the incident. “Liam was talking to the bouncers and walked away and said ‘that bouncer hit me in the face’,” Miss Patient said.

The court heard the couple then went to leave the club with Miss Patient telling Liam not to go back and confront the bouncer. She told the court: “I said it’s not worth your job, we’ve got bills to pay and Will to think about.”

Prosecuting Andrew Jackson told the jury Ryan and Owen Wood who were at the Euro Lounge then followed the couple and resolved to attack Mr Holden. The brothers did not know Mr Holden before that night.

The attack which lasted 20 seconds was witnessed by Miss Patient. She said Mr Holden, who held a black belt in martial art Tang Soo Do, “was the most loving, affectionate wonderful man that I’ve ever met in my life. He was our gentle giant.”

She tearfully told the court that after leaving the Euro Lounge: “All of a sudden Liam was being attacked. He just got attacked out of nowhere. He was constantly punched and kicked, punched and kicked and stamped on. There were two men. They repeatedly punched Liam in the head and kicked him and punched him and kicked him. They wouldn’t stop. I was screaming at them to stop saying ‘leave my Liam alone’ they wouldn’t stop.”

Miss Patient continued: “My Liam was unconscious on the floor and they just wouldn’t stop. He was unconscious and I was left cradling Liam in my arms. He wasn’t breathing.”

Cross-examining and defence for Owen Wood Adam Davis QC later showed the jury CCTV images. He said they showed Mr Holden having Mr Wood in a headlock. Miss Patient could not remember.

The trial continues.

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