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'I knew that if I threw a punch like that it was going to hurt'

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

  • victim: Anton Jardin


THE man accused of murdering a fellow partygoer after attending the V Festival said he threw the deadly punch because he was standing up for a friend.

Sam Martin, 26, is on trial for the murder of graphic designer Anton Jardin on August 18 last year.

The two men were at a party at a mutual friend's house – Mole Cottage, in Three Mile Hill, Chelmsford.

At Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday, the seventh day of his trial, Martin told the jury that Mr Jardin and Martin's boss, Clint Spearpoint, were arguing in the garden.

"I came out of the bathroom and could hear shouting," he said.

"I looked straight out of the kitchen window and I could see Clint and Anton scuffling against the window. I could hear the men shouting and the girls screaming for it to stop."

When the two men were separated, Martin came out of the kitchen and hit Mr Jardin in the face, the court heard.

"He was side-on and I punched him in the side of the face," said Martin. "It was just a straight punch."

Asked by his defence, William Boyce, if this affected Mr Jardin, Martin said: "It absolutely had an effect on him because I threw the first punch and it connected with the side of his face. As I went to throw the second punch I could see that it wasn't going to go well."

Martin, of Westcliff, said that he was angry with Mr Jardin for arguing with Mr Spearpoint.

"I felt like I was protecting Clint. Standing up for him," he said.

During questioning last week, one witness claimed she saw Martin kicking Mr Jardin in the head, but he denied this.

"I gave him one punch," he said. "I knew that if I threw a punch like that it was going to hurt him but I didn't expect it to go the way it did."

A postmortem examination revealed Mr Jardin died as a result of a tear to the vertebral artery, caused by a fast rotation of the head.

Mr Boyce continued: "When Anton Jardin fell to the floor, is that something you expected?"

"I thought it was weird he fell towards me," said Martin. "I thought he might have gone backwards from the punch.

"He was breathing and then 10 or 20 seconds later he started making a growling noise and then his jaw locked up. I thought he was choking on his tongue from the noise he was making."

Martin told that Mr Jardin's mouth was full of blood and how he started to go blue.

"I was rubbing my hand on his chest over his heart. To be honest I didn't know what I was doing, I was just trying to help him," he said.

Mr Jardin was declared dead at the scene just after midnight and Martin was arrested on suspicion of murder along with Clint Spearpoint, who later had all charges against him dropped.

To begin with Martin denied being involved in the assault.

"I had just been told what had happened about what I had done. He was pronounced dead while I was still there. I was in shock. I was scared," said Martin, with tears running down his face.

"Yes I lied. I was scared. I knew I was to blame. Anton had died and I knew it was my fault."

The trial continues.

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