Defendant blames others for killing Denis Witney

Denis Witney

Denis Witney

First published in Oxford

A DEFENDANT on trial for the murder of Denis Witney has taken the stand for the first time.

Wayne Cattell is one of three people accused of killing the homeless man during an incident at a house in St Clement’s Street, East Oxford, on November 9, 2011.

Yesterday he told Oxford Crown Court he was not responsible for Mr Witney’s murder, blaming it on his two fellow defendants.

The 37-year-old described two assaults; first by Joanne Moriarty and then by her boyfriend Daniel McCollin, in which Mr Witney was punched, kicked, stamped on and hit with a glass and a can of beer.

He told the court that he met Mr Witney on November 8 while staying with friends in St Clement’s Street when he offered the 39-year-old a sofa to sleep on.

Then he described how the following evening Moriarty, who accused Mr Witney of punching her when they last met, flew into a rage when Cattell wouldn’t ask him to leave. He said: “She was punching him and then started hitting him on the top of the head with the bottom of the glass.”

He claimed he ejected Mr Witney from the house because it would have been “a recipe for disaster” if he was still there when McCollin got home.

But despite his efforts Mr Witney came back and was attacked by McCollin. He described McCollin stamping on Mr Witney “five or six times” until he lost consciousness.

Cattell, of Mortimer Road, Rose Hill, McCollin, 30, of Blay Close, Blackbird Leys, and Moriarty, 29, of Mortimer Road, Rose Hill, all deny Mr Witney’s murder.

The trial continues.

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