Bradley Welsh murder trial: machete victim fails to identify attacker

A friend of Bradley Welsh has told jurors how the man accused of murdering the Trainspotting star is “100 per cent” not the male who also tried to kill him.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 2:09 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 2:29 pm
Shotgun blast: Bradley Welsh

David McMillan,50, said Sean Orman,30, isn’t one of the three men who came into his home in March 2019 and struck him on the head with a machete.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard the father of five say on Monday that that he was afraid for his children’s safety when the men came into the property.

The court heard Mr McMillan say that the men initially didn’t wear masks. But they then placed balaclavas over their faces.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said he grabbed an axe which he kept in his kitchen for work but was hit on the head by one of the men with a machete. Moments later, his son, also David, hit the man with a bat.

Mr McMillan then said the men left his property and he was taken to hospital where he stayed for five days recovering from his injuries. He and his family later left to go to Spain on holiday

On Monday, Mr McMillan said he could identify the men who came into the house. This prompted prosecution lawyer Richard Goddard QC to ask Mr McMillan if he could see his attacker in court.

Mr McMillan looked towards the dock, where Orman sat alongside two security officers.

He then looked back and told Mr Goddard: “I take it you mean the man sitting beside the two security officers - I can 100 per cent say that it is not him or anybody else who came into my house.”

Mr McMillan was giving evidence on the fourth day of proceedings against Orman, of Edinburgh, who denies murdering elsh in April 2019.

Orman also denies attempting to murder Mr McMillan and assaulting Mr McMillan’s 25-year-old son son, also David.

Prosecutors claim Orman killed Welsh – who won praise after he played Mr Doyle in the sequel to Danny Boyle’s classic 1996 movie Trainspotting.

In the movie- which was based on Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting - Mr Doyle drives Renton and Sick Boy to the countryside after he becomes aware of their attempts to make money at his expense. He forces them to strip naked and walk through woods in one memorable scene.

Outside of acting, Welsh, a Hibs fan, ran a boxing gym in the Scottish capital and had been offering programs to help kids stay out of trouble.

He was also involved with and Edinburgh based charity Helping Hands which fights inequality in the city.

Before taking up acting, Welsh was also an amateur British lightweight boxing champion.

However, he lost his life aged 48.

On Monday, Mr McMillan told the court how he works in the hospitality business. He said he had known Welsh since he was aged 13. He said he spoke to Welsh about his role in T2 Trainspotting and his appearance in a programme hosted by Eastenders star Danny Dyer entitled Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men.

He spoke of the moment three men came into his house. He said they weren’t wearing balaclavas but their presence prompted him to grab an axe he kept in the kitchen.

The court had earlier heard how the axe was used as a tool for a Christmas tree business owned by Mr McMillan’s family.

He told Mr Goddard that he was concerned for his family’s safety.

He added: “I grabbed the axe. I had the intention of putting it into one of their heads.”

He then told Mr Goddard that the men then placed balaclavas on their faces.

He added: “They now had balaclavas on. I’ve went for the first one I’ve seen. He put his head to the side and I think I hit him on the shoulder.

“I then walked out into the hallway to go forward and as soon as I walked into the hallway one was to the right hand side and elevated up three sets of stairs and hit me on the head with a machete.

“I’ve then fell back into the kitchen, dropped the axe in the kitchen and it was a weird sensation - it was like somebody had poured hot water over my head.

“There was a lot of screaming and shouting. He then came over the top of me and tried to hit me again on the head.

“I tried to put my hands up and then they tried to hit me. I put my arm up again. At that point my wife is screaming and shouting. There’s mayhem happening. There’s fighting and screaming and that point my son appeared from nowhere and hit this man right over the head with a bat, knocked him right back into the hallway and my son and my wife then held the door shut and i eventually came back to my senses, stood back up onto my feet.

“I think maybe one of them came back in and smashed a table in the kitchen with a knife and then he basically run away.”

The court heard that during a telephone call to the emergency services, Mr McMillan could be heard saying ‘no police, no police’. Mr McMillan also didn’t give the police a statement about what happened to him and he also didn’t provide a DNA sample.

Mr McMillan told the court that he had given DNA samples to the police on previous occasions. He said he didn’t give a statement because he was focused on recovering from his injuries which included a fractured skull and a bleed on his brain.

During evidence, Mr Goddard also asked Mr McMillan if he knew a man called George Baigrie.

Mr McMillan replied: “I’ve never spoke to him. I have never seen him in my life.”

The court had earlier heard that Mr McMillan had visited a man called Mark Richardson at Saughton Prison in Edinburgh earlier on the day of the alleged assault.

But on Monday, Mr McMillan said it was his father who visited Mr Richardson at the jail.

Mr Goddard told Mr McMillan that he believed the witness wasn’t interested in co-operating with the police.

He said “I’m going to suggest you that you have tried to hold back the police inquiry into what has happened to you. That’s why there were calls of ‘don’t call the police’ when you were onto the phone to the emergency services; that’s why you’ve repeatedly failed to give a statement; that’s why you refused to give DNA.”

Mr McMillan replied: “I’ve already told you the police hold my DNA. I’m here today which is a statement in itself and I’ve already explained we were looking to save my life not to have a story time.

“You got a head bleed like I had or a situation like that - it’s an ambulance you need. Plenty of time after that to speak to the police but your initial thought is to stay alive. “

Mr Goddard then said that Mr McMillan had told a ‘false’ story about what had happened to him.

He said: “You’ve come to court today to tell a false story about men coming in with faces showing and then covering them up later all so you can say that the man in the dock is not the man who attacked you.”

He replied: “That’s not true. I’ve come here today and told the truth. I’ve had a look around this court and that man there wasn’t the man that was in my house.”

Orman has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering Mr Welsh and 14 other charges.

Prosecutors have also brought other charges for alleged motoring offences, possessing ‘controlled’ drugs and breaching firearms legislation.

Prosecutors claim that on March 13 2019, at 1 Pitcairn Grove, Edinburgh, Orman - “whilst acting along with others to the rosecutor unknown” wore a mask and assaulted Mr McMillan by striking him to the head and body with a machete or “similar instrument.”

It’s claimed that the assault was to Mr McMillan’s “severe injury” and “permanent” impairment and that Orman attempted to murder him.

It’s also alleged on the same date at the same location Orman assaulted Mr McMillan’s 25-year-old son, also named David, by striking him on the body with a machete or similar instrument to his injury.

On April 17 2019, at 3a Chester Street, Edinburgh, prosecutors claim Orman murdered Welsh by firing a shotgun at him.

His legal team have lodged two special defences to the court.

In relation to the alleged assaults on the McMillans, Mr Orman claims a man called Michael Sutherland “and others.. unknown” were responsible for the alleged attacks.

Mr Orman’s legal team claims that at the time Mr Welsh was shot, he was not in Chester Street but was “elsewhere” travelling alone on a “cycle” between Longstone in Edinburghand Kirknewton, West Lothian.

The trial, before judge Lord Beckett, continues.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.