Man denies attempting to murder father after losing temper over mobile phone
A 55-year old man has denied trying to murder his elderly father in their east Belfast home after losing his temper over a mobile phone.
Alan Lockhead also denied intentionally wounding his mother, who sustained two slash wounds whilst trying to get a kitchen knife from his grip, saying her injuries were "a pure accident."
Lockhead is currently standing trial on two charges arising from an incident in the kitchen of the family home in Ballyhackamore last March.
He has been charges with, and denies, attempting to murder his father and wounding his mother with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm. Desmond Lockhead (74) said his son tried to strangle him with a mobile phone charger lead before stabbing him twice in the head, whilst his mother said she was injured trying to disarm her son.
Mr Lockhead was treated for lacerations to his head and ear, while Mrs Lockhead was treated for two separate 10cm slash wounds to her arm.
As he was called to the witness stand at Belfast Crown Court to give evidence today, Lockhead - whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry - rejected most of his parents account of what occurred at around 6.30am on March 22 last year.
The jury has already heard that Lockhead had been living in London for 16 years prior to the violent incident, had returned to Belfast due to mental health issues, and was due to fly back to London the day he is alleged to have stabbed both his parents.
When asked why he had come home, Lockhead said he owed money for cannabis and that two men approached him and told him they were going to start escorting him to the Post Office and taking half his benefits money off him until the debt was clear.
He said he had been in Belfast for around ten days and had been seeking rented accommodation as he planned to come back for good.
Questioned by his barrister Charles MacCreanor QC, Lockhead was asked what had happened the evening before the incident. The defendant said he had words with his parents about his two grown-up chidren, as they told him he wasn't their biological father.
He said he couldn't understand why they were saying things to hurt him, so he went to bed around 9pm. He was then quizzed about what happened in the kitchen the following morning.
Lockhead claimed he had words with his father, who was sitting watching TV and eating his breakfast, about a mobile phone they had given him which he couldn't get to work. He said his father called him stupid as he had shown him how to work it on several occasions, then his father told him 'I don't know how you are getting to the airport. You may f*****g walk.'
When asked what he did next, Lockhead said: "I walked behind him with the phone charger lead and put it around his head and pulled him back in the chair." And when asked by Mr MacCreanor "why did you do that?", Lockhead replied: "I wanted the truth about everything - the phone, my kids. Everything that he said."
Denying that he pulled his father onto the floor, Lockhead said he pulled the chair backwards and when the lead snapped, his father jumped from the chair and lunged at him.
He continued: "As he came forward, I moved back. It happened in seconds. I lifted the knife from the chopping board." When he was asked why he lifted a knife, Lockhead said: "Just a reaction I suppose. To scare him, I suppose."
Lockhead said he feared "getting a hiding" from his father "after what I did with the cables around his shoulders." When asked to explain what happened next, Lockhead said: "My father jumped on me and pulled me to the ground. He has his two knees on my chest and he was holding my arms. I started to struggle with him, by trying to force him to get off me."
Mr MacCreanor then asked his client how his father sustained the wounds to his head, with Lockhead relying: "I hit him with the knife with my hand. I hit him on the head."
Telling the court that he never stabbed his father, but instead hit him with the knife, when Lockhead was asked how he felt about being charged with attempting to murder his father, he answered "I never intended to kill anyone."
He was also asked to explain the injuries to his mother's arm. Mrs Lockhead was woken from her sleep by her husband called for help, and was wounded whilst getting the knife off her son. She grabbed a trainer and hit her son on the hand with it until he released his grip on the knife.
When Lockhead was asked about being wounding her with intent, Lockhead said: "I never, ever, ever, never did I ever intend to hurt my mother. It was by pure accident. She came down and got in the road, basically." He also claimed he wasn't aware of her presence "until she hit me on the hand with whatever it was."
Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Robin Steer, Lockhead was questioned about the row both the night before, and the row with his father about the mobile phone.
Admitting that he suffered from paranoia, Lockhead said that despite being shown how to use the mobile, he believed his father had done something to it. When Mr Steer suggested to Lockhead that he lost his temper and attacked his father over a phone, he answered "It was not just about the phone. The phone was the straw that broke the camel's back."
"He ignored me. He was sitting eating his breakfast and watching TV. It was the things he said about the kids, calling me useless, saying I couldn't hold down a job, that I was a disappointment. It was a combination of all these things. He called me f*****g stupid and told me I would have to walk to the airport on my own."
Denying that he put the lead around his father's neck and tried to strangle him, Lockhead claimed he used the lead to hold his father by the shoulders in the chair so he could tell him the truth about his children.
Rejecting a suggestion he lost his temper, but admitting he was "a bit angry", Lockhead said he picked up the knife as he felt his father was going to "start swinging punches." Again denying that he attacked his father when the older man was on the ground, Lockhead reiterated his claim that his father got him to the ground and knelt on top of him.
He told the court: "I didn't stab my father in the head. I hit him on the head with the knife." Mr Steer's reponsed to this by telling Lockhead "this is just another lie. You are making this up as you go along."
Belfast Telegraph Digital