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Neil Bennett found lying in pool of blood after being chased by "aggressive" attackers, court told

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

By Nick Webster

neilbennett

A MAN killed over a drug debt of just £10 was seen running frantically through a park being chased by his "aggressive" attackers, a court heard.

Neil Bennett was found lying in a pool of blood just minutes after it is claimed he was set upon by Lucy Dowdall, 20, Ricky James, 34, Christopher Horn, 30, and Tyler Johnson, 24.

The court heard he had fled from a "drugs den" in Spa Villas, Montpellier, following a dispute with the defendants over money he owed.

But they gave chase before they allegedly cornered and fatally stabbed the 50-year-old in Gloucester Park, on July 27 last year.

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Bristol Crown Court heard that Mr Bennett had visited the flat where he was handed a "small white pill" before becoming involved in a heated argument with the defendants.

CCTV shows the group angrily confronting Mr Bennett before giving chase as he ran off.

Andrew Langdon QC, prosecuting, told the court witnesses spotted a "panicky" Mr Bennett running through the park, as the city fair was winding down, with those giving chase not far behind.

He said: "A man in a Scottish outfit wearing a kilt, who had just completed a charity event, saw Neil Bennett running across the park.

"Those following him were shouting aggressively at him and he said he thought Neil looked panicky.

"Hannah Wiggins and her dad Paul were walking through the park when they heard two people, who we believe to be James and Dowdall, shouting 'you're bringing this on yourself Neil. Bring it on, you are only doing this to yourself'.

"Hannah and her dad did not realise how serious the position was and remarked to each other some words to the effect of, 'another night in Gloucester', and walked on."

The jury were then shown clips of Mr Bennett staggering around the park after receiving the fatal wound, before finally collapsing on the road, where his attackers scattered.

He was found with a knife sticking out of his leather jacket by park security guard Mark Newman.

Mr Langdon added: "The prosecution point the finger of responsibility at all four of the defendants. The defendants point the finger at each other.

"No one is pointing the finger at anyone else."

The court was also told how witnesses overheard the argument outside Spa Villas where many described Dowdall, who lived there, as "egging the men on".

"One woman said she overheard Dowdall say, 'you were meant to be his boy, you let this happen, are you going to do anything about it now?' Mr Langdon said.

"The impression she had was that she was egging on the boys to have a go at Neil Bennett.

"She thought the men were armed with something and she saw punching movements from Horn to the body area of Neil Bennett.

"She also saw another man, Johnson, running to where Neil was and started to hit him two or three times to the back."

The court heard Mr Bennett received a stab wound during this fight, which caused him to run off.

Dowdall, James, of Spa Villas, Horn, of Denmark Road and Johnson, of no fixed address, each deny murder, as the trial expected to last up to six weeks continues.

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