Moments after Abdul Deghayes had been stabbed in a fight in Brighton and slumped unconscious, his friend fled the scene, a murder trial jury was told.
Colby Broderick, 27, from Whitehawk, said: “I was crying my eyes out. I was freaking out. I saw blue lights … as soon as I saw those lights, I just ran off. I was all over the place.”
He added: “I just wanted to get away from the scene.”
Mr Broderick later made a 999 call which was played to the jury at Southwark Crown Court. At one point, he said: “I’m absolutely petrified.”
And on Thursday (10 September) he told the court: “I was clearly drunk, scared and wanted to make sure my friend was all right.”
But barrister Joseph Evans, representing Daniel Macleod, who is charged with murdering Deghayes, accused Mr Broderick of lying to save his own skin.
Mr Broderick choked back tears in the witness box as he described his last evening with 22-year-old Deghayes in February last year.
The pair went drinking in Wetherspoons, in George Street, Hove, and Deghayes wanted to buy some cocaine before the pair picked up a couple of girls.
But when the drug dealer, known as Frank, and since identified as Macleod, approached Mr Broderick’s silver Volkswagen Polo, Deghayes said “we need to talk” and got out of the car.
Mr Broderick, who recognised Macleod from the gym, said: “I heard Frank say, ‘Do you think I’m fucking stupid?’
“I thought Frank had shoved Abdul. It looked like they were just scuffling.
“I had no (car) insurance and, where they were, they were overlooked by flat windows. I didn’t need the attention. I shouted out, ‘Fucking sort it out! Stop!’
“It started getting a bit more heated. Abdul was on the floor. He (Macleod) was over my friend. I thought he was punching him.
“Where it was half light and half dark, I could just see (Macleod) swinging at him. He just kept running in and out and it looked like he was swinging at him with his arms.”
Mr Broderick said: “I just said, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ Frank said, ‘This is nothing to do with you.’
“It gave Abdul time to get back up on his feet and he came round behind me and said, ‘That’s enough now.’
“Abdul was leaning on me and trying to keep me between him and Frank.
“Frank said (to Mr Broderick), ‘If it wasn’t for you, I’d have fucking killed him.’
“Abdul had his arms round me to shield himself and to keep himself up too – it felt like he’d got quite heavy.
“He (Macleod) muttered something like ‘you little prick’ as he went back to his car.
Wet with blood
Mr Broderick, wet with his friend’s blood, said that he helped Deghayes into the car and started trying to drive him to hospital from outside the Hanover Court flats, in Wellington Road, Brighton.
But Mr Broderick said: “His breathing was going a bit funny. He was gargling … I knew he wasn’t normal. He was being quiet. I said, ‘Are you all right?’ He wasn’t speaking.
“I was driving up Elm Grove to go back towards the hospital. His breathing started going and he collapsed on my left arm and it made me swerve an I crashed the car.”
At this point Mr Broderick’s voice cracked as if he was about to cry again and he tried to stifle his tears.
Deghayes had been stabbed eight times. His wounds proved fatal. Adam Feest, prosecuting, told the jury that Macleod would claim that he had acted in self-defence.
Mr Broderick said that he had made a number of calls after fleeing the scene, knowing that an ambulance was on its way.
These included calls to Frank’s phones. He said that he was told: “Just keep your mouth shut.”
Keep your mouth shut
Mr Broderick said that he told Macleod that he’d killed Deghayes but Frank said: “He’s probably passed out. He’ll be all right in a minute. He’ll come round.”
Mr Broderick added: “I was crying and in a right old state.”
During one call, Frank passed the phone to someone else and Mr Broderick said that he recognised the familiar voice of Stephen Burns.
He said that he had known Burns since childhood and that Burns said: “Colby, it’s Steve. Frank’s a good man. You need to keep your mouth shut.”
Mr Broderick said: “He was saying that Abdul had previously robbed him (Burns) of Frank’s drugs.”
The next day Mr Broderick went to a police station in Brighton where he was initially arrested as a suspect – and he said that he could hear Burns shouting in another cell.
He killed my friend
A police officer showed Mr Broderick a series of pictures of people to see whether he could identify the killer and when he saw Macleod’s picture, Mr Broderick burst into tears.
When Mr Feest asked him why, he said: “I’d just seen the man who killed my friend.”
During cross-examination by Mr Evans, for Macleod, Mr Broderick admitted that he had been drink driving even though he was banned from the road and that he had no insurance.
But, referring to a 999 call made by Mr Broderick, Mr Evans said: “You lied to the operator about a number of things – and the reason was because you were looking after yourself.
“You were worried that you were going to get arrested for driving while disqualified … You were lying because you were protecting yourself. You misled the police because you wanted to save yourself.”
Macleod, 37, of Gipsy Road, south London, has pleaded not guilty to murder and Stephen Burns, 56, of Lennox Street, Brighton, denied helping the killer after the stabbing.
The trial continues.