Man killed in attack

PUBLISHED: 16:51 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:30 28 May 2010

A TEENAGER watched in horror as a pub landlord stabbed a customer to death in a knife attack, a court was told. Steven French stabbed Christopher Garford 23 times with a kitchen knife in the head, neck and chest during a fight at the Wisbech Arms pub in E

A TEENAGER watched in horror as a pub landlord stabbed a customer to death in a knife attack, a court was told.

Steven French stabbed Christopher Garford 23 times with a kitchen knife in the head, neck and chest during a fight at the Wisbech Arms pub in Exchange Square, Wisbech, on June 3 last year, the prosecution alleges.

French, 50, who lives above the pub, denies murder.

His defence claim it was Mr Garford who first pulled the knife and French had been subjected to verbal and physical assaults from customers since taking over the Wisbech Arms.

On Wednesday the jury at Cambridge Crown Court heard video evidence from Ricky Lake, 18, who said he had gone to the pub at about 10.30pm and French and Mr Garford had begun fighting after a row over late night drinking.

Mr Lake said Mr Garford had thrown a bottle or glass at French, but missed and hit the landlord's 10-year-old daughter. He said French had "lost it" after the missile was thrown.

He said at one point, Mr Garford was on the floor with French on top of him, hitting him. He said: "Chrissy (Mr Garford) was saying is that all you have got?"

Mr Lake said French was punching Mr Garford and singing at the same time. He said Mr Garford was trying to get back up onto his knees when Mr Lake saw French pull a knife from his trousers.

He said: "Then he went whack in his back." As French stabbed Mr Garford, he told him: "Have this."

On Tuesday Timothy Spencer, QC, opening the case for the Crown, alleged French had waited for almost 20 minutes after the last blow to call emergency services.

Karim Khalil QC, defending, told the jury that French had been subjected to verbal and physical attacks from regulars at the pub since he had taken over as landlord five months earlier.

Mr Khalil added that it was in fact the dead man who first pulled a knife during the struggle in the bar.

"In quite a short period of time he became a threatened landlord," he said

The trial continues.

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