Row over TV led to man being stabbed to death in Halifax

Scene of murder, Athol Close, Ovenden, Halifax
Scene of murder, Athol Close, Ovenden, Halifax

A murder trial jury has heard how a fight over a television ended with a man being fatally stabbed in the chest in Halifax.

Bradford Crown Court heard today (Tuesday) that Darren Moorhouse, 49, had been visiting his friend Kate Longshaw at her flat in Athol Close in January when her former partner and another man turned up to take away property including two flat screen televisions.

The jury heard how Miss Longshaw became involved in a fight with ex-boyfriend Christopher Churchill over one of the televisons and Mr Moorhouse intervened to help his friend.

But Churchill, who was still living at the flat in January, allegedly armed himself with a kitchen knife which was later used by his friend Dale Dwyer to stab Mr Moorhouse through the heart when the confrontation moved downstairs into the communal entrance area of the flats.

The jury heard that Dwyer, 26, of Alma Street, Buxton, accepted stabbing Mr Moorhouse, but in police interviews he claimed he had “lashed out” with the knife in self defence.

Dwyer and 34-year-old Churchill have both denied murdering Mr Moorhouse, but prosecutor Dafydd Enoch QC said the case was a classic illustration of how, if you introduce a knife into a fight situation, it will always end in tragedy.

Mr Enoch said that Churchill had armed himself with the knife during the incident and he had then handed it on to Dwyer.

“During the course of the fight they both punched and bit Mr Moorhouse. It was two onto one throughout,” alleged Mr Enoch.

The jury heard how after the stabbing Mr Moorhouse, of Honley, managed to reach a first floor landing before collapsing, but Churchill is then alleged to have kicked him in the head as he lay dying on the floor.

“The defendants say they were defending themselves from him but they were not,” alleged Mr Enoch.

He explained that to be acting in self defence a person had be acting proportionately and reasonably to ward off an attack, but he submitted that the use of a knife to stab a man in the chest was “way over the top” and disproportionate.

“But bear in mind throughout this it was two onto one,” he added.

“It was no accident the stabbing. It was deliberate say the prosecution.”

The jury heard how the two men allegedly tried to escape after the stabbing, but Dwyer told police he persuaded Churchill to go back to Mr Moorhouse.

Mr Enoch suggested that Dwyer had decided that they had to go back and try to do what they could to save Mr Moorhouse, but it was obviously too late.

When paramedics arrived on the scene they tried to resuscitate Mr Moorhouse but realised very quickly there was nothing they could do for him.

“Both (defendants), in due course and still to this day, maintain a basic story that they were attacked by him and were just defending themselves from him,” said Mr Enoch.

In a police interview Dwyer claimed that he had been hit twice by Mr Moorhouse with a tubular object, possibly a cheap telescope, and he had struck Mr Moorhouse on the left side of his chest with the knife in his hand.

Mr Enoch accused Churchill of telling “straight forward lies” in his police interviews by suggesting that Mr Moorhouse had been in possession of the knife.

He suggested that it was highly significant that Churchill now accepted the knife was his and he deliberately went to get it when the fight started.

“He, Churchill, brought the knife into the equation in a two to one situation,” alleged Mr Enoch.

“They both participated in an attack on Darren Moorhouse who was outnumbered.

“There was no reason for either of these defendants to use weapons on this man.”

He said it had clearly been a concerted, aggressive, angry attack carried out by both of them, not in self defence, but in anger and together.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.