The first defendant in the Adam Fanelli murder trial went into the witness box today to tell the jury he was not responsible for the killing of the 31-year-old Dunstable scrap metal dealer.
Addy McAllister, 34, said it was his co-defendant Jemma Price, 30, who fought with Mr Fanelli at a travellers site in Nash, Buckinghamshire, in the early hours of March 17 this year.
As the pair traded blows he said neither man was backing down, adding: “They were like two dogs fighting.”
Mr McAllister said he jumped into Mr Fanelli’s van to get away, despite the fact it had three punctured tyres, and drove out of the site.
31-year-old Adam Fanelli’s body was discovered in a field beside the Nash Park Travellers Site in Winslow Road, Nash later that morning.
The court was told that Mr Fanelli suffered a severe beating with more than 150 bruises on his body, with signs he had been gripped while he was punched.
Mr McAllister, of Charlesworth Street, Bolsover in Derbyshire and Jemma Price of Ridgeway, Kensworth in Beds, are both on trial at Luton crown court where they have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Fanelli, a father of two.
Two days before his death, it is alleged the defendants, arrived in a car at the home of Adam’s partner.
In a phone call to Mr Fanelli , it is alleged Mr Price asked him to get him some cocaine and threatened to burn the house down. He is then alleged to have threatened Adam’s partner Jess, telling her “You haven’t seen or heard anything ok?” before driving off.
It is alleged Mr Fanelli supplied them with cocaine that evening.
Mr McAllister, a father-of-five and a scrap metal dealer, told the court he had known Mr Price all his life, and that he was living nearby on the site.
Asked by his barrister Richard Sutton QC to describe his relationship with Mr Price he said: “When he gets drunk he gets a bit loud and what not” and “can lose it now and then”.
On Monday, March 16, he claimed he was at the Nash site when Mr Price received a call from Adam Fanelli and it was arranged he would come over and join them for a drink and a smoke.
Mr McAllister said he had never met Mr Fanelli before and when he arrived they had a drink and a laugh before the subject came up about getting some more cocaine.
As a result he said they drove to Luton where Mr Fanelli arranged to buy some drugs through a relative.
He said more drugs were bought that night in Dunstable and late that night the three of them set off in Mr Fanelli’s van for Nash.
Mr Mcallister said as they pulled up at the caravan site, an argument had broken out between Mr Price who had been driving and Adam Fanelli who was in a passenger seat.
He said Mr Price jumped out of the van and said he was going to get a knife and cut off Mr Fanelli’s fingers.
With that he said Mr Fanelli got out of the van and ripped off some guttering pipe from a caravan.
Mr Price then reappeared and punctured three tyres on the van with a knife.
“I felt the van go down, I was still in the van. I managed to get out and shouted at Price ‘What the bloody hell are you doing?’”
He said Mr Price had armed himself with two knives which he managed to get off him. He said “Mr Fanelli was coming towards him with a drain pipe. These two then began fighting one another.”
Mr McAllister said he ran off with the knives and threw them into a pile of horse manure in a nearby farmer’s field.
He said: “I tried to stop them. They were two big lads and I was getting in the way and getting knocked over.
“I was in the middle of it - aggression was coming towards me. Fanelli was alive and fighting back. They were like two dogs fighting.
“It felt like I was going to be the next one beaten up.”
Mr McAllister alleges he fled the scene and when he went back to the site he saw Mr Price washing his hands in a bucket.
“I asked him what happened to the lad and he said he had sent him home.”
Later that night he said he dropped Mr Price off on the M1 motorway between junctions 23 and 24 and he made his way to his mother’s home in Chesterfield.
He said it was the next day he learned about the body of Mr Fanelli being discovered in a field beside the site at Nash
The court heard he handed himself into police on March 24 by arrangement.
The case continues.