Murder trial hears of ‘frantic’ scuffle

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A MAN collapsed on to the ground after he was allegedly stabbed during a violent confrontation between two groups of youths, a court has heard.

Steeplejack Dale Bennett collapsed after he was apparently knifed during a “frantic” scuffle in Gorebridge, Midlothian, in February 2011, the High Court in Edinburgh heard.

The teenager’s friend, Gavin McInnes, 21, told the court yesterday that he saw his friend falling on to the road in the village’s Newbyres Crescent, and lift his T-shirt to onlookers standing nearby.

Mr McInnes said he could see Dale’s stomach, which was covered in blood.

Mr McInnes, of Mayfield, Midlothian, was giving evidence on the third day of the trial of Brian McHale, 21, who is accused of murdering Dale Bennett on February 12 last year in Newbyres Crescent.

McHale, whose address was given in court as being a prisoner of HMP Polmont, is said to have seized the keen Hearts fan by the body before striking him with a knife.

On the first day of the trial Mr McHale’s legal team tried in front of the jury to offer a plea to prosecutors that their client was guilty of the culpable homicide of Mr Bennett.

However, advocate depute Gary Allan QC refused to accept the plea to the lesser charge, leaving McHale to face action on the murder allegation.

McHale has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of assaulting Aaron Pearson, 21, of Mayfield, Midlothian, to his injury on February 6, 2011, at Newbyres Crescent.

The trial, before Lady Clark of Calton, continues.