Man charged over Teddington brawl tells court he was defending his friend (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Man charged over Teddington brawl tells court he was defending his friend
A man involved in a mass brawl that ended with the death of a student told a court he got involved to defend his friend.
Edward Thompson-Membery, 22, of Pollard Street, Bethnal Green, is one of seven men facing trial at Kingston Crown Court for their alleged parts in the fight, which started outside the Royal Oak in Teddington High Street on November 10, 2012.
Mr Thompson-Membery, who was represented by Matthew Farmer, is charged with one count of violent disorder.
He told the court he saw his friend, Callum Hurley, being punched three times by Ben Axelrod so ran across the road shouting "stop fighting" to stop him being seriously injured.
He said: "My focus was strictly on Callum and Ben Axelrod. At that time he [Mr Axelrod] looked about twice the size of him.
"I saw about three [punches] connect from Ben Axelrod to Callum.
"I wouldn't have run over if I didn't see that. I had no other reason to run across the road at all."
Prosecuting Tom Little told the court Mr Thompson-Membery, known to his friends as Ned, had not mentioned the alleged three punches in his defence statement.
He said: "Did you not think you should make reference to three punches being administered?"
Mr Thompson-Membery denied Mr Little's suggestion he did not mention the punches to avoid a "legal skirmish" between defence counsel in court.
Mr Little said: "I suggest that Callum Hurley, Max Mears and Aaron Noonan were attacking Ben Axelrod at the point that you arrived next to Callum Hurley.
"And that you made a deliberate decision to kick Ben Axelrod when he had his back to you and then having kicked him you then swung a punch at him."
Mr Thompson-Membery said: "I absolutely would not have gone in and attacked someone from behind."
Mr Little told the court when police phoned Mr Thompson-Membery on January 25 he refused to give his exact address but later handed it over.
Mr Thompson-Membery told the court this was because it would be embarrassing and "completely unfair" on his three housemates, who wouldn't know what it was about.
The trial continues.