Murder trial latest: Boxer Ben Croft denies any violence towards ‘friend’ Danny Walsh

Danny Walsh.
Danny Walsh.
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A former semi-professional boxer accused of the murder of Grantham man Danny Walsh has told a jury that he had no involvement in the fatal attack.

Ben Croft, giving evidence to the jury at Lincoln Crown Court, claimed that his younger brother Sam Croft was grabbed by Mr Walsh during an incident outside their sister’s home in Edinburgh Road, Grantham.

He said: “Danny grabbed Sam with his left hand around Sam’s throat. I saw two blows to Sam’s head area.

“I just saw Sam go back. He closed his eyes and punched Danny. There was four punches from Sam.

“It looked as though Danny tripped on the kerb as the punches knocked him back. He fell and went on all fours. He was sort of getting back up and then Sam just short of shunt-kicked him. It wasn’t a proper kick. It was just a lash-out kick. I think it made contact with his head or upper body. When the kick landed Danny’s body just hit the floor.

“Danny was dead. His eyes were open. He wasn’t moving.”

“I didn’t do any violence. I didn’t hit him. I didn’t have time. It was all too fast. From the first punch by Danny to the last kick by Sam was a matter of seconds.”

He told the jury his brother acted in self defence adding: “Danny’s not a soft person like my brother is.”

Ben Croft admitted he may have appeared to celebrate afterwards. Under cross-examination he also admitted he may have said “Crofts are ruling this town”.

But he told the jury: “If I did say it that was before I realised the seriousness of the situation. I was surprised my brother had won the fight against Danny Walsh. My brother is not a fighter. Danny Walsh was.”

The jury has heard the incident began after Mr Walsh and his partner Katie Loosemore complained about the noise from an impromptu party being held at the home of Kelly Parsons, the sister of Ben and Sam Croft.

Ben Croft said he regarded Danny Walsh as a friend and had nothing against him.

He told the jury: “Katie Loosemore was with him. I heard her mention that there was kids next door. She said ‘Can you keep the noise down’.

“In retrospect she had a point,” he said.

Ben Croft said he had fought around 20 bouts as a super-middleweight boxer with his last fight in December 2012. He said boxing was a disciplined sport and he was not a violent man out of the ring.

The prosecution claim he was angry on the day of the incident after learning he had lost his job as a bricklayer.

Croft admitted he put a posting on Facebook about his work situation ending “#avoidmecrosstheroad” but told the jury that during the morning he fixed up work on the same building site although he did not update his Facebook site to say this.

The prosecution say the two brothers attacked Danny Walsh who was kicked and punched after intervening to complain about the noisy party.

Ben Croft, 24, and Sam Croft, 22, both of Barrowby, each deny murder on July 28, 2013.

The trial continues.