Killer claims Ring doorbell burglar had a gun and heard someone say ‘shoot him’

Halewood: Police attend scene of murder investigation on 2021

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Karl Townsend, 32, also told jurors he was “slashed out” at by Jordan Brophy before he stabbed him when he found him in his house. Townsend and his half-brother Jamie Cunningham, 23, are on trial for the murder of Mr Brophy. Mr Brophy was one of three men who broke into Townsend’s home in Halewood, Merseyside.

A Ring doorbell notification alerted Townsend, who was at his mother’s home nearby, to the break in and he went to the house with Cunningham on October 29, reports Liverpool Echo.

But Liverpool Crown Court was told Townsend and Cunningham left the scene, and then returned, when Townsend allegedly stabbed the “defenceless” 31-year-old in his jugular vein “out of revenge or punishment” . Richard Pratt, QC, prosecuting, has said Townsend does not dispute causing Mr Brophy’s death but denies murder.

Speaking at his trial this week, Mr Townsend said he was picking up his brother from his mum’s to go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant when he got a couple of notifications alerting him to the break in.

He immediately told Cunningham and the pair ran out to his car to drive to the house, reports Liverpool Echo. Townsend then told the court he called his partner Amelia Rigby, who was out with their dog at the time.

He then arrived at the home, something captured in Ring doorbell footage previously shown to the jury. Townsend told Anesta Weekes, QC, defending, that as he opened the door he saw a burglar coming down the stairs.

He claimed the burglar was “mimicking” a gun with one hand and, when he looked closely, was holding a knife with the other. Asked by Ms Weekes what happened as the man came down the stairs, Townsend said: “He slashed out at me.”

Ms Weekes asked: “Which hand did he slash out with?”. Townsend said: “It was his right hand.”

Ms Weekes asked: “What was in his hand when he slashed out?”

Townsend said: “It was a knife.”

Ms Weekes asked: “What did you think was going to happen when he did that?

Townsend said: “I thought I was going to be killed. I thought I was going to die.”

Ms Weekes asked: “Why?”

Townsend replied: “There was a burglar in my house with a knife.”

Townsend said the man stepped down the stairs and that it was at this point that he stabbed him twice towards the head, though he couldn’t remember where exactly. He said he also then saw a second burglar, who has not been identified, coming down the stairs and said he was holding a gun.

Ms Weekes asked: “What did you see in the hand of that second burglar?”

Townsend replied: “It appeared to be, like, a handgun.”

She asked: “What was even going on inside your mind at that point?”

Townsend replied: “I thought he was going to shoot me and that I was going to die.”

Townsend, from Halewood, said he then fled out the house and back into his car with Cunningham.

Karl Townsend claimed he then drove out onto the main road in a panic but quickly turned around to try to find Ms Rigby. When he got back on to Beechwood Avenue he could see a car on the road close to his house.

Townsend said that as he drove slowly up the road he heard someone say “shoot him” and that he then ducked down in his car, causing it to crash into a wall. CCTV footage previously shown to the court does show a car crashing into a wall.

Responding to a question from Ms Weekes about where the words came from, Townsend replied: “From that car.”

Townsend and Cunningham, also from Halewood, deny murder and possession of a bladed article.

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