Traveller Jemma Price, 30, pleaded his innocence yesterday as he told a jury how he tried to stop the fight which led to the death of Dunstable scrap metal dealer Adam Fanelli.
Father-of-five Mr Price said he helped Adam to his feet after being knocked to the ground by co-defendant Addy McAllister.
Mr Price said he put Adam in his van and saw Mr McAllister approaching them with a knife in his hand.
His account at Luton Crown Court came after Addy McAllister told the jury he played no part in the fight which he said was between Adam Fanelli and Mr Price.
Jemma Price, of Ridgeway, Kensworth, Beds and Mr McAllister, 34, of Charlesworth Street, Bolsover in Derbyshire, plead not guilty to the murder of 31-year-old Mr Fanelli in the early hours of March 17 this year.
The jury was told Mr McAllister had moved onto plot 11 on the Nash traveller site with his family and Mr Price was also living in a caravan on the site.
It’s also alleged by the prosecution that a red T shirt found near the gate at plot 11 and which had been worn by Mr Price had blood on it which could have come from Adam Fanelli.
Giving evidence, Mr Price said he had been good friends with Adam Fanelli, telling the court “If I needed anything doing, he would do it.”
On Sunday March 15, Mr Price told the court his wife left the site at Nash with the children to visit her mother in Gloucester because it was Mother’s Day.
He said Mr McAllister were drinking together when it was decided they would drive to Adam Fanelli’s home in Dunstable to buy cocaine.
Mr Price said he wasn’t aware that Mr Fanelli had split from his wife and when they arrived at the house she contacted Adam on the phone and passed it to him.
He said Adam wasn’t happy they had gone to his house and put the phone down on him.
Barrister Henry Grunwald QC, defending Mr Price, asked him about the allegation that he threatened to burn Mr Fanelli’s home down.
“Is that true?” he asked.
Mr Price replied “No”.
He then told the jury how on Monday March 16 he was contacted by Adam Fanelli, who came over to the Nash site for a chat.
Mr Price said he, Addy McAllister and Adam began drinking and it was decided to get some cocaine.
As a result, he said all three of them went in Adam’s van to Lewsey Farm in Luton to buy some. He said Addy drove while Adam was on the back seat drinking and smoking weed.
Late that night he said they began the journey back to Nash and on arrival parked up the van near his caravan.
Mr Price said they remained in the van taking drugs and drinking. He said the the atmosphere was fine with them talking and “messing about.”
He said the mood changed when Addy McAllister wanted to “exchange some blows” with Adam.
“Addy asked me first if I was going to get involved and I said ‘No it’s down to you.’
“I thought they were messing about because we were all sitting down drinking and taking drugs.”
Mr Price said the other two got out and started to have a fight while he remained in the van.
“I never thought it was going to go that serious. I actually got out of the van because I could see it was getting nasty. I saw one of them bleeding” he said, adding that as he got closer, he could see it was Adam.
He said he jumped in between them and tried to push them apart and he told the court “It was getting out of hand.”
He said he got between them and started shouting and it was then, he said, that Adam Fanelli fell over.
“I lifted him up. I bent over and grabbed him by his left arm” he said.
Mr Price said as he lifted him up Adam’s left arm was over his own shoulder.
Asked by his barrister he had done anything aggressive, Mr Price replied “No, I only jumped in between them and they pushed me back”
He said having got Adam to his feet he got him back into the van and put him in the driver’s seat.
It was then, he told the court that he became aware of Addy McAllister coming towards them with a knife.
He said Adam “jumped out of his van” and pushed him back.
Mr Price said Mr McAllister pushed past him and he realised Adam had hit a fence before running off. “I saw him run and hit three fences,” he told the court.
He then told the jury Mr McAllister began shouting and swearing and punctured the tyres on Mr Fanelli’ van.
Mr Grunwald asked him “Do you know why he slashed the tyres?”
Mr Price replied “I have no idea.”
He said McAllister then got in the vehicle and drove off the site to dump it.
Mr Grunwald asked him “Did you know where Adam was?”
Mr Price replied “No, I thought he had run away.”
He said Mr McAllister then came back to the site and had changed out of his clothes and was wearing a pair of shorts.
Mr Price said his co defendant wanted to leave Nash because he thought friends of Mr Fanelli would come to the site.
“Addy wanted me to go with him,” he told the jury.