Lewis Wickenden claims gun was in his Dartford home to protect him and partner Michaela Sargent
A man on trial for assisting an offender on a murder charge brought a shotgun into his home after people threatened to decapitate his children, the court heard.
Lewis Wickenden stood in the witness box to give his account of the night of February 12, when father-of-three Kevin McKinley was shot and killed.
Wickenden, 26, told the jury at Maidstone Crown Court he and his partner Michaela Sargeant were being threatened on a weekly basis in the six weeks leading up to that night.
Kevin McKinley was fatally shot in Merryweather Close in February
Wickenden, who worked on and off selling scrap metal, denies assisting an offender and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
He explained how he had taken the 12-bore shotgun from a friend’s house in order to “protect his family”.
On January 13, two men wearing ski goggles and balaclavas came to Sargeant and Wickenden’s home in Overy Street, Dartford, and began banging on the door and yelling.
Asked by his barrister, Micheal Haynes, what the men were shouting, Wickenden replied: “They said they would cut my kids’ heads off and make me and Michaela watch.”
He went on to say how they also threatened to “kill her [Sargeant] and then me… and burn the house down.”
Mr Haynes asked what event sparked the two men to go to Wickenden’s house and make these threats.
Floral tributes at the spot where Kevin McKinley was shot in Dartford
Wickenden, who was wearing a black suit with a dark grey tie, said that late in December he and his friend Marley Booth had gone to the Bull ‘n’ Vic in Dartford High Street.
Mr McKinley, who Wickenden knew but was “not close friends with”, joined them.
While there, Wickenden had a small altercation with another man and left soon after.
On January 13, some men, claiming to know the man who Wickenden argued with, came to his home.
Mr Haynes said: “They said the police seized money from them. They said that had happened because you grassed them up to police?”
Wickenden said: “Yes. I didn’t know what they were talking about. It had nothing to do with me.
“They said they had come to kill me because of it. I told Michaela to ring the police and she did. I was sat against the door trying to stop them from kicking it in.
“When they heard we were ringing the police they left but they said they would be back.”
Wickenden told Mr Booth and Mr McKinley about the incident.
“I was terrified,” said Wickenden.
Louvain Road, Stone, where Kevin Mckinley lived
“Kevin said he would sort it out. The next I heard they [the group who had bashed on his door] wanted £5,000 from me. I don’t have that kind of money but they rang me constantly demanding the money.”
Wickenden admitted in a police statement that he had been growing cannabis in his house, and that Mr Booth knew about this.
To try to stop the threats he agreed to give them the cannabis which Mr McKinley picked up from his house, the court heard.
The next day Wickenden claims he got another phone call saying the plants were worth £400, and that would be deducted from the £5,000 total.
Wickenden and Sargeant tried to find somewhere else to stay, but failed and were frightened living in their home.
“That was never the intention (for the gun to be fired); the intention was to scare them with it. I would have fired it at the ceiling or the floor” - Lewis Wickenden
Mr Haynes asked Wickenden: “What was the motive to having a loaded gun in your house?”
Wickenden replied: “Just to scare them away and protect my family.”
Mr Haynes then asked: “Did you intend for it to be fired at anybody?”
Wickenden: “That was never the intention; the intention was to scare them with it. I would have fired it at the ceiling or the floor.”
He denies assisting an offender and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
His partner Michaela Sargeant denies the murder and manslaughter of Kevin McKinley.
The trial continues.
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