Hereford murder trial - defendant's police interview

THE man accused of murdering a Hereford father told the police following his arrest that he hoped he “would just wake up and it would all be a joke”, a court has heard.

Stacy Hales, aged 36, of Belmont Road, Hereford, stands accused of the murder of Steven Paynter.

Hales denies murdering the 46-year-old, who was known as Taff to friends and found dead in a house in Ryelands Street, Whitecross, Hereford, on August 3 last year.

Hales appeared before Worcester Crown Court on Friday for day five of the trial, during which the court was read a transcript of Hales’ interview with police on August 4.

During this interview he told police how he had gone to visit Mr Paynter on the afternoon of August 3 to collect the £40 owed to him for bike parts.

He said he went in to the room because the door wasn’t quite closed and asked Mr Paynter about the money.

When Mr Paynter said he did not have the money, an argument began.

Hales told police: “Taff started giving me lip and I said ‘it’s only money’. He grabbed a knife. He went ballistic. He had me against the wall. It all happened so fast.”

Hales added: “I didn’t want this. It’s not worth £40.”

Hales, during his police statement, said a scuffle ensued on the sofa during which Hales said he was stabbed in the arm but he denied punching or injuring Mr Paynter with any weapon.

Hales said he left the flat and was followed by Mr Paynter who was screaming and shouting after him.

He said he continued home and disposed of his bloody t-shirt in a bin outside his house on Belmont Road, saying he wouldn’t have worn it again as ‘the blood wouldn’t have washed out’.

Hales is expected to give evidence in person this week.

Earlier in the day the jury was read a statement from a witness who saw Hales “covered in blood”.

Mandy Jones said she was walking with her two children and her dog along the Great Western Way at around 5.25pm on August 3 when she saw Hales and two men walking towards her. She said: “I rang my husband to let him know we were on our way home.

“I ended the call because I saw a man covered in blood. I was also concerned for my children who were lagging behind me. I saw three men walking in the direction of the park, walking towards me. I had to walk around them as they didn’t move to let me pass.

“The man in the middle had no shirt on and his arms were by his side covered in blood. I thought he was smeared with paint but I realised it was blood. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Blood was rubbed in to his hands, it was bright red.

“His face was also covered in blood.”

Also in court was Kim Horry, 20, who stands accused of assisting an offender, which she denies.

The trial continues.

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