Paul Retallick murder trial: My attack on victim 'was driven by fear'
A Langport man accused of murder said he attacked his sister’s ex-boyfriend when he feared she had been seriously assaulted.
Lee McGinty, 25, of Peony Road broke down in tears as he told Bristol Crown Court his sister Heidi had shown him bruises on both her upper arms.
McGinty, and father Michael, 55, also of Peony Road, both deny the murder of Yeovil man Paul Retallick, at Iris Way, Langport, on September 16 last year.
Last week jurors and a packed public gallery heard Lee McGinty sob as he described what happened after he found his sister’s ex-boyfriend hiding in a wardrobe at Miss McGinty’s home.
He said: “I went downstairs to check she (Heidi) had called the police. She pulled back her sleeves and showed me big, bad bruises on the tops of both her arms.
“She said: ‘look at what he did to me’. It looked like he had held her down and attacked her. So many thoughts were going through my mind. It hurt to know she had been hurt.”
Lee McGinty told defence counsel Michael Fitton QC he accepted responsibility for Mr Retallick’s death but denied intending to kill him.
He said his fear of Mr Retallick’s “dangerous” behaviour drove him to punch, kick, and stamp on the 35-year-old until he was unconscious.
McGinty said: “He (Retallick) was a low-life, he was unpredictable.
“I had known him to carry weapons before and he’d broken my father’s ribs in a fight and hurt my sister.
“The attack changed my dad, he became quiet and was worried about what Paul might do. I was scared of what he could do to my family.”
Lee McGinty said he had suspected his sister and Mr Retallick had resumed a relationship when he had tried and failed to contact Miss McGinty four days before Mr Retallick’s death.
The court heard Lee McGinty left school at 15 and worked in a series of retail jobs before helping his father as a window cleaner.
McGinty told the court he had moved to Langport several months before Mr Retallick’s death after splitting up with long-term girlfriend and the mother of his child, Mary Patterson, with whom he had shared a home in Ilminster.
He had lived with his sister for a month before moving back into his parents’ house on Peony Road.
On the night of Mr Retallick’s death Lee McGinty said his sister’s behaviour had worried him.
He said: “I’d seen Heidi earlier that day when I went to her house.
“Later me and dad came over to drop off a table and chairs we had borrowed. The curtains were shut. I went around the side to see if the kitchen light was on and then we called through the letter box.
“When she answered the door Heidi was behaving like she was on drugs, she’s normally bubbly and but she was quiet and withdrawn.
“She looked panicky and wasn’t saying much.
“She wanted us to leave straight away but I went upstairs to look for some of my stuff and also to find out what she was scared of.
“I opened the wardrobe and there was a face staring at me. I’d not been expecting it. I felt fear, shock and anger all at once. He just kept staring at me.”
McGinty said his instincts told him to hit out at Mr Retallick. He said he starting hitting him in the face.
He told the court: “We had each other in a head lock. My punches didn’t have any affect on him at all. It was a scary situation. He was very strong for a little man.
“It was pitch black, I couldn’t see a thing, the light bulb had blown.
“Heidi came in and saw us and I shouted for dad to come and help me.”
McGinty said Mr Retallick then became embroiled in a tussle with his father, which resulted in him kicking them both to the ground.
It was then McGinty said he left the room and saw his sister’s bruises before returning to Mr Retallick and his father.
He said: “It all went blank from there.
“I just remember thinking, he’ll hurt my family again if he gets free. It wasn’t for myself, it was for my family.
“The only thing that made me stop was my dad telling me to stop. I remember when Paul stopped moving.
“It was so dark so I dragged him closer to the light in the hallway and felt for a pulse.”
McGinty said his sister became hysterical at this point. He said he saw his father tapping Mr Retallick’s face and calling his name to wake him up and his mother Fiona was called to come to the house.
Lee McGinty told the court: “I just stood there in disbelief at what I had done to him.”
The trial was due to conclude yesterday afternoon.