Victim of assault feared for his life in alley attack, court told
A MAN has told a court how he feared for his life when he was kicked and punched on the ground by three strangers.
Martin Harper described to a jury how three men chased him in a dark alley before striking him around the head and torso at least 15 times.
He told Plymouth Crown Court: "I was frightened for my life. I screamed at the top of my voice for help."
Mr Harper, aged 34, said his coat and phone were taken before he managed to break free.
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John Ward, aged 18, admitted before a jury to assaulting him causing actual bodily harm on February 24.
Mr Harper was left with a broken nose and cuts and bruises to his face, the court heard.
But Ward, of Embankment Road, denied robbery and is on trial for that offence alone.
Mr Harper told the court he was visiting friends in Cromwell Road, St Judes, on the night of the attack.
He added that he entered a rear lane behind the house on his way to visit an off-licence just before 10pm.
Mr Harper said he was confronted by three strangers, just as he put a debit card in his pocket.
He added one of the men asked him: "What do you have in your hand?"
Mr Harper said he felt intimidated, so he ran away down the alleyway, but he was chased and cornered by the trio.
He added one of the men punched him in the face and he tried to escape into a back garden.
Mr Harper said: "I went to the ground and curled up in a ball to protect myself. There was no way of escaping at the time."
He added that during the assault he was struck around the head and torso more than 15 times.
Mr Harper said during a lull in the attack he managed to escape, but his coat was pulled off and he felt a hand in his pocket taking the phone.
Earlier David Gittins, opening the case for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Harper flagged down a passing police car in Embankment Road.
He added an officer spotted Ward, chased and caught him.
Mr Gittins said the phone and the jacket were later found in the area.
The court heard that blood was found on Ward's shoe with DNA that matched Mr Harper's.
Ward, giving evidence, said he was walking down the lane towards a takeaway with two friends he refused to name.
He added Mr Harper ran straight towards him "fiddling with something" in his pocket.
Ward said: "I felt he was going to pull something out of his pocket."
He added he punched him in the face, but said Mr Harper continued coming towards him with his head down.
Ward said he then punched him once or twice more but then said he left without chasing or kicking Mr Harper.
He said Mr Harper's blood must have fallen on his shoe from a cut on his face.
The trial continues, with the jury expected to be sent out to consider its verdict this morning.