A former boxing coach accused of murdering his great-nephew by glassing him at a five-star estate said he has little recollection of the incident.
Raymond Dupree was one of around 30 guests celebrating a family birthday at the exclusive Snurridge Manor House, near South Molton in north Devon, in which 20-year-old Ryan King, from London, was fatally injured.
Witnesses said Dupree, Mr King’s great-uncle, had lost his temper with several youngsters who had “not shown enough respect” to their elders by playing music loud and dropping glasses.
Mr King was said to have told Dupree to calm down, when his older relative swung for him, his right fist clenching a champagne glass which shattered on impact and severed Mr King’s jugular vein.
Cross-examined during his trial at Exeter Crown Court today, Dupree repeatedly said he “could not remember” details of the incident, including whether it was he or Mr King who had been holding the glass which caused the injury.
Dupree said he was only aware that his great-nephew had been seriously hurt after hearing the man’s mother “wailing for her son” in a neighbouring hospital ward while Dupree himself was getting treated for a cut to his hand, believed to have been sustained in the same incident.
Dupree said: “I became aware (of the seriousness of Mr King’s injury) when I got to the hospital and I heard my niece (Mr King’s mother) scream out: ‘Oh, my boy, my baby boy’.
“Ryan was in an adjoining (hospital) room.
“When I heard my niece, I said: ‘What’s going on?’
“A policeman told me to be quiet, because they (Mr King’s family) don’t know we were there.”
Asked by defence counsel Adam Vaitilingam QC what he recalled from the party, on August 20 2011, Dupree said he had told some children to go to bed.
Dupree said Mr King later challenged him, talking in a “sarcastic” manner, he told the court, before the 68-year-old admitted offering his young relative to “go outside”, as though to fight.
Dupree said: “He (Mr King) said: ‘Come on, then’. He took half a step towards me, I got up and hit him.”
The defendant said he threw one punch, a right-arm hook, which he demonstrated to the jury.
Dupree denies a charge of murder and the case continues.