Murder accused denies he knew of attack plan

A MAN accused of murder has denied he was recruited as a getaway driver for the street attack.

Nadeem Rashid told a jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday he only became aware something had happened when his co-accused Aaron Smith and Joe Church returned to his car with blood on them.

When he asked what had happened, Church said Aaron had been fighting and a guy got slashed on the back.

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He said Smith was holding his nose which was bleeding and both men were panicky. He was scared and did not ask them any more at that stage.

The prosecution claims Smith and Church attacked Joshua Hirst near his home in Grove Street, Mirfield. He later died from knife injuries to his neck.

Rashid said he was “cruising” around in his Renault Megane with Smith and Church when Smith suddenly told him to stop, got out and went off without saying anything.

He said he asked what was going on but Church said he did not know and had got out and followed Smith telling him to wait two minutes.

“Were you aware of any plan to get Josh Hirst,” asked his counsel Jamie Hill QC. “No,” he replied.

“Were you aware somebody might get seriously hurt or killed,” asked Mr Hill. “No,” said Rashid.

He told the jury he did not know that Church had a knife with him that night and did not know where they had gone.

Church, 21, of Redlands Close, Mirfield; Smith, 19, of Saville Street, Emley; and Rashid, 21, of Lapwing View, Horbury, Wakefield, each deny the murder of Mr Hirst, 20, on August 3 last year and possessing an offensive weapon.

Under cross-examination by Neil Davey, QC, prosecuting, Rashid denied knowing that Smith had been texting about Hirst while in the car. He also denied he had ended up following Mr Hirst’s car. “It is the honest truth what I have said. I was not following any car.”

“The truth is you were following him because you knew exactly what you were following him for,” said Mr Davey.

“I didn’t,” replied Rashid.

Mr Davey suggested he would have asked how they got blood on them. “I didn’t want to get involved,” said Rashid.

The trial continues later this week.