Mirfield murder trial: Father and girlfriend of Josh Hirst give evidence

A GRIEVING father has relived the moment his son came home with his throat cut.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 22nd January 2013, 3:07 pm

Terence Hirst was giving evidence at the trial of three men accused of murdering 20-year-old Josh Hirst on August 3 last year.

Mr Hirst said he went into his kitchen after his wife Julie heard Josh cry out for him at around 11pm.

“I looked at him and said, ‘What’s wrong?’,” Mr Hirst told Leeds Crown Court this morning (Tuesday).

He said there was a pool of blood on the floor from wounds inflicted on the young man just yards from the family home in Grove Street, Mirfield.

Josh set off to his father’s pickup truck parked nearby whilst his dad quickly dressed to take him to hospital, jurors heard.

But when he went outside Mr Hirst found his son collapsed in Hepworth Lane.

He said: “Josh looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to die here’. I said, ‘You are not – your brother loves you, I love you, your girlfriend, your mum. You’ve got a business to run’, and I tried to keep him talking.”

Josh worked as a welder at his father’s engineering business and the court heard he hoped to run it himself one day.

Passers-by stopped to help and one woman, Ruby Midgely, called an ambulance and gave first aid instructions.

“She was an angel,” Mr Hirst said.

Josh was taken to Dewsbury and District Hospital where he died of his injuries.

Joe Church, 21, of Redlands Close, Mirfield; Aaron Smith, 19, of Saville Street, Emley, and Nadeem Rashid, 21, of Lapwing View, Horbury, all deny murder and possessing an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Neil Davey QC read a statement given to police by Josh’s girlfriend, Lauren Pachniuk.

It said Josh had been celebrating Miss Pachniuk’s 18th birthday and their first anniversary on the night he was killed.

Miss Pachniuk said the couple had been followed by a car in Liversedge in March or April last year.

When the car stopped a man with a baseball bat, who had his face covered, got out and was followed by three others.

Miss Pachniuk said one of the men said it was because of Josh and his “grasser mates”.

The couple ran away and Josh later said he thought it was connected to a friend of a friend being beaten up.

He told Miss Pachniuk that person had ended up in intensive care after being hurt by someone from the London Park Estate in Mirfield.

Yesterday, Mr Davey told the court that there had been a disturbance at Church’s home in May and several people mistakenly thought Josh was involved.

Jurors today heard Josh told his girlfriend about the incident the next day.

Miss Pachniuk’s statement said: “He laughed about it when he told me. He said they deserved it because of what they had done to other people.”

Mr Hirst told the court that the windows of his van put through outside the family’s home later the same day.

He said: “I think [Josh] did say that these guys had realised it was not him [they were after]”.

The case continues.

Keep checking our website for updates and see the full story in this week’s paper.