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Defendant told police he never attacked psychiatrist, court hears

Jason Edwards, 25, is on trial with two others charged with murdering Dr Gary Jenkins, 54, who was violently assaulted in a Cardiff park

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A general view of Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

A general view of Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

A general view of Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

A man accused of murdering a psychiatrist during an allegedly homophobic attack in a park told police after his arrest he was not involved, a court heard.

Jason Edwards, 25, is on trial with two others charged with murdering Dr Gary Jenkins, 54, who was violently assaulted in Bute Park, Cardiff in the early hours of July 20 2021.

The father-of-two suffered multiple severe brain injuries and died at the University Hospital of Wales 16 days later on August 5.

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Dr Gary Jenkins died after being attacked in Bute Park (South Wales Police/PA).

Dr Gary Jenkins died after being attacked in Bute Park (South Wales Police/PA).

PA

Dr Gary Jenkins died after being attacked in Bute Park (South Wales Police/PA).

Edwards is on trial at Merthyr Crown Court alongside Lee Strickland, 36, and a 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Prosecutors allege the attack was “motivated by greed, homophobia and straight-up violence” and the three defendants had been “in search of vulnerable gay men who were in the park for sex” to rob.

Edwards told detectives: “I was not in this f****** dirty park. So, listen to my words now, yeah, I’ve listened to your words, I was not there, yeah, I was not there.

“In was in my friend’s place, like I told you.”

A detective asked Edwards why it was a “dirty park” and he replied: “A dirty park? Well, what do you say happens in there?

“So why I am going to put myself, a straight person, walk through a gay park at night time?”

A detective asked Edwards: “What they do in there is dirty, is it?”

He replied: “Clearly yeah, in my eyes, yeah, it’s dirty.”

Edwards was asked: “You said it makes you feel uncomfortable?”

He replied: “It does make me feel uncomfortable, yeah, of course it does. In my eyes it is dirty.”

In a further police interview, Edwards is asked about an audio clip taken from a CCTV camera at a nearby cafe in the park in which Dr Jenkins can he heard shouting repeatedly “leave me alone”.

Edwards denied being in the park and denied hearing Dr Jenkins begging to be left alone.

A detective asked: “A male voice can be heard saying a minute later, ‘Stamp on his head, stamp on his head now, stamp on his head bro, harder’. Did you say that?”

Edwards replied: “No comment.”

He is asked: “Were you there when somebody said that?”

“No comment,” Edwards replied.

“Were you stamping on the victim’s head?”

Edwards replied: “No comment.”

“Was that Louis Williams and others trying to stop you from attacking the victim?,” Edwards is asked.

He replied: “No comment.”

A detective asks: “A male in the distance can be heard shouting ‘Jason’ a number of times and a male nearer to the cafe responds. Was that you, Jason?”

“No comment,” he replies.

The jury also heard details of a prepared statement the 17-year-old co-defendant gave police after her arrest.

The teenager, who was 16 at the time of the alleged incident, said she was drinking in Bute park with two men and did not see Dr Jenkins approach.

She said after Dr Jenkins was punched to the floor she was beckoned to join in with the attack and did so because she was “terrified and scared”.

“I thought if I don’t do what he wanted, I would actually die. I thought if I ran, he or they would catch me,” she said.

“It was dark, I was alone with two males I did not know, who had become very violent towards this other man, Dr Jenkins.

“I’m traumatised by what I saw. My phone battery had died and I felt helpless. My only option was to do what they wanted, so I was not seriously hurt and killed.

“I hit him once with my fist, I think, and kicked at Dr Jenkins a few times so that he did not attack me.

“They were not hard kicks, and the other males ran off and I left Bute park and walked to a friend’s house.”

She added: “I did not think Dr Jenkins would be seriously injured and someone would help him. I was too scared to call for help for him because I thought these males would come after me.

“I still believe they would hunt me down and hurt me or my family. I had no intention of seriously hurting Dr Jenkins and I am sure I did not want to kill him and I am sure the same thing would happen to me if I did not do as I was told.

“I feared I would be attacked if I tried to get away.”

The jury has previously heard the defendants have accepted being present during the attack and pleaded guilty to the manslaughter and robbery of Dr Jenkins and the assault of witness Louis Williams.

Barristers representing Edwards and Strickland told the court their clients would not be giving evidence.

The trial continues.

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