Father-of-five stabbed in the head after friend's 'crude' remark, Cleethorpes murder trial hears

scene of Cleethorpes stabbing
Tom Gaughan died after being attacked during a night out, the court heard. Credit: GrimsbyLive/MEN

A father-of-five was stabbed in the head as violence flared after his friend made a "crude" remark about his attacker's girflriend, a murder trial has heard.Tom Gaughan, 33, died in hospital last August a month after he was attacked in Cleethorpes. Connor Hulse, 22, of High Street, Cleethorpes, is on trial at Grimsby Crown Court charged with murder. He denies the charge.

Grimsby Crown Court heard the men had been drinking at separate venues with friends before the incident on 21 July.CCTV showed Mr Gaughan and his friend Jack Kitchen walking along High Street towards Grant Street when they came across Mr Hulse and his girlfriend Gabrielle Hough. Prosecutor Sam Green KC told the court: "It appears that Jack Kitchen made a highly crude, sexual and offensive remark directed at Gabrielle Hough. Public disorder then erupted between the men in each group."Mr Gaughan punched one of Mr Hulse's friends, Daniel Champion, in the head, knocking him to the ground. As he stumbled to the pavement, Kitchen kicked Mr Champion to the head, which knocked him out.Mr Green said: "As Champion lay on the ground, knocked out, events took a grave and fatal turn because Connor Hulse produced a knife from the waistband of his trousers and, with his right hand, attempted to direct roundhouse blows with that implement in the direction of the two other males."CCTV then showed Mr Gaughan staggering off.

The trial was told Mr Gaughan had suffered a fatal injury after the knife penetrated his skull and entered his brain. Mr Hulse later handed the knife to Hough. The 18-year-old has admitted assisting an offender by taking the knife.

Two other men have admitted affray, the court heard.Mr Green said: "Our purpose is to make it clear that the prosecution does not condone the conduct of any of the parties involved in this incident, which does none of the participants any credit, because we accept all concerned were engaged in criminal public disorder."But the prosecution say that, in producing a knife and using it to stab a man through the skull, Connor Hulse took an ugly incident of public disorder to a whole new level and that there is no justification for using it in the way he did.

"We anticipate he will say he was acting in defence of himself and his companions. But what possible justification is there for carrying a knife, let alone producing it and hitting out with it repeatedly, even when the men you claim to be defending yourself against, are backing off?"Mr Green said Mr Hulse told officers: "I got started on by some guys." He claimed one of them had made a sexual suggestion to his girlfriend. The trial continues.

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