Good Samaritan partner did not feel threatened before attack, murder trial told


A partner of a Good Samaritan allegedly murdered when she intervened in a street row has told a court he did not feel threatened before he too was attacked.

Anthony Tomlinson, 43, said his first thought was for mother-of-two Alison Wilson, 36, after he said he lost consciousness from a blow to the head from what he thought was a bottle of wine.

The couple had been concerned for the safety of a baby whose mother was arguing with Stephen Duggan, 28, near a chip shop in Widnes, Cheshire.

Ms Wilson thought it would be "less intimidating" if she stepped in as peacemaker on the evening of March 7 this year, a jury at Liverpool Crown Court has heard.

She failed to stop the row though, and then Duggan allegedly turned on her and her partner of six years as he used a bottle of Echo Falls red wine as a weapon.

The Crown say Duggan felled Anthony Tomlinson, 43, with a blow to the top of his head, then thrust the now broken bottle into his face before he went on to push it into the area of Ms Wilson's left neck which severed her jugular vein.

Giving evidence, Mr Tomlinson explained how he and Ms Wilson, a mother of two girls, had decided to get a taxi from a pub to a takeaway in Page Lane near their home.

While in the chip shop he saw a woman run past, he said.

He said: "She was screaming and she had a car seat, a baby cradle, over her arm and it was swinging all over the place.

"I thought it was strange. It was late at night ... the baby chair being swung round in that manner. It just didn't seem right."

He returned to the waiting taxi which drove a short distance before he saw the same woman again in Frank Street with a male.

Mr Tomlinson told the jury: "One was trying to take the car seat off the other. They were fighting over the car seat.

"It was not gentle pushing. I thought there was a baby in there."

He said he asked the taxi driver to stop the vehicle as he wound down the window and asked: "Is everything OK?"

It was then that Ms Wilson stepped out of the taxi, he continued.

He said: "I think she went straight over to the girl. They were still tussling over the car seat. By that time I had made a decision to pay the taxi and walk from where we were.

"I walked over to Alison. The male was standing in between parked cars and Alison was in the middle between the male and female, pushing the male away from the female."

He said he asked "what's going on" but did not get a response.

Prosecutor Gordon Cole QC asked: "At that time, were you concerned at all?"

The witness replied: "I did not feel threatened at all. I didn't think anything would escalate."

He said that without warning he was then hit over the head.

"I knew what had hit me was hard," he said. "I just seen white. I didn't know what had happened, I think I was knocked unconscious straightaway

"I remember I was lying on the floor and I came round. My first thought was for Al."

Visibly upset, he told the jury: "She was standing, with her hand on her neck.

"I went straight to Al and I told her to keep the pressure on it. I didn't think it was bad it as it was."

He added she had "a look of shock on her face" as neighbours came to assist with one bringing a chair for her.

Ms Wilson was taken to Whiston Hospital after Mr Tomlinson made a "hysterical" 999 call but died six days later.

Mr Tomlinson required plastic surgery for "a nasty wound" which sliced through his left cheek.

Asked how many stitches he required, he said the surgeon had told him he had lost count.

Mr Tomlinson said that full feeling had still not returned to the injured area.

Duggan, formerly from Runcorn, had previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Wilson but the Crown did not accept the plea, the jury was told on Tuesday.

He denies murder and further counts of wounding Mr Tomlinson with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm to the baby who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Duggan had been drinking wine and bottles of Desperado beer earlier in the evening when celebrating the prospect of a new job at the firm his father worked for.

Later he became "argumentative and aggressive" as he stormed out "in a mood" from his father's home in Bellhouse Road, Widnes, taking a bottle of wine, the court has heard.

A heated argument in the street followed at about 11.20pm with the mother carrying her young child. Both had been at the celebration earlier.

The mother, who can also not be named for legal reasons, said Duggan had been asked to leave the house after he became "a bit rude and quite cocky with everyone".

She followed him outside and later got into "a tug-of-war" over the car seat with the child strapped inside.

She told the court: "I remember seeing the lady get out of the taxi and walk over towards us.

"I think she was trying to calm the situation down and see what was going on and why we were arguing over the baby."

She said that at one point all three of them had their hands on the car seat and then her child fell out on to the floor.

Immediately after she was punched to the face by Duggan who admits assaulting her.

Mr Cole asked her: "What about the lady?"

She replied: "I just saw her hit the floor. I did see Steve lash out but I didn't see what happened."

She added she did not see if Duggan was holding anything at the time and did not recall another male being at the scene.

The witness then said she "panicked" and ran off with her baby.

The trial continues.