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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Self-defence claims of Maidstone man Trenton Musgrave accused of attempted murder after breaking friend William McMaster's skull with hammer

19 December 2013
by Keith Hunt

Police were called to Boxley Road in Maidstone. Picture Martin Apps

Police were called to Boxley Road in Maidstone. Picture: Martin Apps

A man has claimed he was acting in self-defence when he struck a friend on the head with a hammer, shattering his skull.

Trenton Musgrave said William McMaster was threatening him with a rock in his hand when he lashed out in a Maidstone underpass in the early hours.

Musgrave said of a suggestion he was trying to kill Mr McMaster: "Of course not, no. As he went to attack me I put up my hand to block and swung the hammer."

The 29-year-old, of Melville Road, and 26-year-old Liam Quinnell, of Bicknor Road, both deny attempted murder and an alternative charge of wounding with intent.

Maidstone Crown Court has heard Mr McMaster, 35, was attacked after he left a drinks gathering at a flat at Telford House in Boxley Road on June 14 this year.

Quinnell, Musgrave and Alan Murray were all drunk and had earlier been asked to leave the flat by host Brian Johnston.

Prosecutor Andrew Espley said Mr McMaster was assaulted when he stopped Musgrave from attacking Mr Murray.

Musgrave, he said, ran after Mr McMaster and struck him between the shoulder blades with the hammer. He then hit him on the head, causing a depressed fracture.

Mr Espley asked Musgrave: "How much noise did your hammer make when it broke Mr McMaster's skull?"

Musgrave replied: "I don't remember it making much noise."

Neither could he remember, he said, what his argument with Mr Murray was about. He ended up kicking Mr Murray while he was on the ground and Mr McMaster intervened.

"I was a bit shocked and upset he hit me," he said. "A fight ensued between myself and Will."

It ended, he said, when Mr McMaster grabbed a rock from a wall. He and Quinnell then went looking for Mr Murray near the TA centre.

The is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court

The boy is to appear at Maidstone Crown Court

They did not find him and as they drove back down Boxley Road, Mr McMaster threw rocks at the car, said Musgrave.

"I was going to talk some sense into him," he added. "I presumed if I had the hammer he wouldn't try to hit me with the rock."

Musgrave said he pushed Mr McMaster, but did not hit him in the back with the hammer. He struck him three times with the hammer, he claimed - once to the head and twice on the legs.

"I started kicking him because I thought it would be a bit much to carry on with the hammer," he said.

"You don't need to carry on beating someone with a hammer when they are curled up on the floor. It is going over the top."

He agreed he could have killed Mr McMaster with just one blow of the weapon.

Police were called to Boxley Road in Maidstone. Picture Martin Apps

Police were called to Boxley Road in Maidstone. Picture: Martin Apps

Quinnell said in evidence Musgrave knocked Mr Murray to the ground and kicked his legs. He claimed Mr McMaster ran over and punched Musgrave in the head.
 
"Trent and Will started fighting," he said. "They were exchanging blows. It sort of died down. Then Will struck him again. I saw Alan (Murray) run off.
 
"Will was going down the hill. We got back in the car. I suggested we found Alan to sort it out. I introduced them and they ended up fighting."
 
They did not find Mr Murray, so they headed back down the hill. As they did so, he said, Mr McMaster threw what looked like a rock at the car.
 
"We got out and checked for damage," he added. "I heard footsteps coming towards me from behind. I turned around and I am struck in the face.
"I kicked him because he had just hit me. I didn't need to kick him. It was wrong. I wasn't trying to hurt him. I just wanted to let him know I was angry..." - defendant Liam Quinnell
 
"I composed myself and when I looked over, Will was on the floor under the archway. Trenton was standing over him. They were shouting and arguing.
 
"I see Will kicking out at him. I wanted to know why he struck me. I was annoyed and frustrated because he hit me for no reason.
 
"I kicked him because he had just hit me. I didn't need to kick him. It was wrong. I wasn't trying to hurt him. I just wanted to let him know I was angry. We started walking out.
 
"I didn't see the hammer when Trenton was standing over him. I first became aware a hammer was involved when we were back at Alan's.
 
"Trenton said something about having a hammer. I said: 'What did you do?' He said he hit him in the leg with it. I was a bit shocked."
 
His lawyer, John Fitzgerald, asked: "When you kicked him in the head, were you trying to kill him?"
 
Quinnell replied: "I didn't kick him in the head. I kicked him in the body. I wasn't trying to kill him. I wasn't so cross I wanted to kill him. I didn't intend to cause him really serious harm."
 
The jury retired on Thursday afternoon to consider their verdicts.

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