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Court hears David Squelch stabbed James Wallington 17 times with Bear Grylls hunting knife at Cory Environmental Recycling Centre in Tunbridge Wells

By Paul Hooper

A mechanic at a Kent recycling plant told of the moment he saw two work colleagues having “a bit of a do”.

But when Stefan Barlow went to break up what he thought was a fist fight between David Squelch and James Wallington, he found one of them bleeding to death.

The two men had clashed at the Cory Environmental Recycling Centre in Tunbridge Wells within minutes of arriving at work.

James Wallington
James Wallington

The mechanic and fitter told how he watched as Mr Wallington “lowered himself to the ground”.

“I thought Dave had punched him and he had been knocked out, so I slapped his face a couple of times. I told him he would be alright" - Witness Stefan Barlow

He told a murder jury at Canterbury Crown Court: “I thought Dave had punched him and he had been knocked out, so I slapped his face a couple of times. I told him he would be alright.

“It was then I noticed blood coming from the side of his fleece.”

Mr Barlow told how he lifted his colleagues shirt and saw stab wounds in his hip and chest.

“I panicked and phoned 999. I took off my T shirt and tried to stem the blood while performing CPR.”

The prosecution has alleged that Squelch had murdered his friend by stabbing him 17 times with a Bear Grylls hunting knife in March last year.

Squelch, 48, has admitted carrying out the knife attack – but denies it was murder.

As Mr Wallington was fighting for his life, Squelch, of Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood is alleged to have told another worker that the attack happened after a discussion about his late mother.

He is alleged to have added: “She’s dead... now he’s dead!”

James Wallington was stabbed to death
James Wallington was stabbed to death

The last moments of Mr Wallington’s life were caught on the company’s CCTV and shown to the jury after Judge Adele Williams warned them to prepare themselves as it was “ a little shocking.”

Prosecutor William Hughes said: “The prosecution case is that Mr Squelch murdered Mr Wallington shortly after 6am on March 9.

“Mr Squelch accepts being responsible for the killing but does not accept his murder. He does accept his manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.”

The prosecutor said the two men had been a team at the depot for two years and had got on well.

They had arrived for work in Squelch’s car in North Farm Lane just seven seconds before the stabbing.

The scene of the incident in Tunbridge Wells
The scene of the incident in Tunbridge Wells

Mr Wallington is seen walking towards the barrier at the depot when Squelch runs up behind him and launches the 20-second attack.

“Mr Wallington does little to defend himself and the reason is that Mr Squelch wasn’t punching but stabbing him with a serrated Bear Grylls hunting knife," he added.

The jury heard that as colleagues performed CPR paramedics and the air ambulance crew raced to the compound – but Mr Wallington died within 50 minutes.

Mr Hughes said Squelch - after throwing away the weapon in a bush – took a bottle of water from the boot of his car.

He then walked to the site office and told a boss: “I just stabbed James. He kept on about my mother. She’s dead. I lost it."

Mr Hughes alleged that colleagues recalled the two men falling out a year earlier over Squelch’s late mother in which he had punched Mr Wallington.

But the prosecutor said that despite that incident the two men had carried on working together until the attack and the previous day had been seen joking together.

Squelch, who had been shaking after the attack, later told his boss: “She’s dead and he’s dead.”

The trial continues.

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