Trial begins of man accused of killing Dale, 17

Dale Bennett
Dale Bennett
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A MAN has gone on trial accused of stabbing a Lothian teenager to death and attacking one of his friends six days earlier.

Brian McHale, 21, admits the culpable homicide of 17-year-old Dale Bennett in Gorebridge but denies murder.

On the first day of his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, one of Dale’s friends, Aaron Pearson, told how McHale had assaulted him at a party in the Midlothian village the weekend before.

Loft insulator Mr Pearson, 21, said he was attacked by McHale and a group of youths when they entered the property in the town’s Newbyres Crescent.

He told prosecution QC Gary Allan that they challenged him to go outside to have a fight but Mr Pearson declined, saying he was afraid of being beaten up.

The court heard how the gang then started to attack him.

When Mr Allan asked who threw the punches, Mr Pearson replied: “Brian McHale.”

Mr Pearson then told the court how the fight continued into the bathroom of the house.

He said: “I fell into the bath tub and they were punching and kicking me. I tried to cover up as much as I could.”

But Mr Pearson claimed that he didn’t suffer any significant injuries from being assaulted.

He said he told McHale and the other youths that their efforts were “feeble”. He added: “I was fine.”

McHale has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assaulting Mr Pearson whilst acting with others at a house in Newbyres Crescent, Gorebridge, Midlothian, on February 6, 2011.

He is said to have assaulted Mr Pearson by repeatedly punching and kicking him on his head and body.

McHale has also pleaded not guilty to committing a breach of the peace at Newbyres Crescent, Gorebridge, on February 12, 2011.

At the start of the trial, McHale faced a charge of murdering Dale Bennett on February 12, 2011 at Newbyres Crescent, Gorebridge.

His legal team tried to enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge of McHale being responsible for the culpable homicide of Dale Bennett in front of the jury.

However, Mr Allan refused to accept the plea, leaving McHale’s legal team to represent him on the charge of murder.

The trial before Lady Clark of Calton continues.