A TEENAGE murder victim was brutally attacked with a baseball bat at a party minutes after being accused of vandalising the back door of the house, a court has heard.
Brett Duncan told the High Court in Edinburgh that he saw Brett Lodge, 17, being struck in the face with the bat by his best friend, Declan Robertson.
The 16-year-old witness said that a confrontation had broken out between the victim, Robertson and party host and co-accused Bradley Lumsden after the door of the latter’s home in Liberton’s Claverhouse Drive had been damaged.
Mr Duncan was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of Robertson, 17, Lumsden, 17, Andrew Parfinowski, 18, and Cameron McKail, 17.
The four teenagers have all pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering the teenager on July 9 last year and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by trying to hide evidence related to the alleged attack.
Mr Duncan, a former pupil at Holy Rood High who is now an apprentice with a plumbing and heating firm, told the court that he had gone to Lumsden’s house at around tea-time where he met friends including Robertson, Parfinowski, McKail and Brett Lodge.
As more people gathered at the home for a party, the group played an Xbox in Lumsden’s bedroom and Mr Duncan described the atmosphere as “fine, happy, the usual”.
He said that a metre-long baseball bat was in the corner of the room along with another bat around half the size.
Mr Duncan said he left the house in a group while one of his friends bought cannabis, and when they returned they played computer games.
He told the jury that Mr Lodge had left the house and now returned and appeared to be “drunk”. He said the victim was “talking and laughing”.
Mr Duncan said that Brett was asked about kicking the back door but denied being responsible and a shouting match broke out involving Robertson, Lumsden and the victim.
He said that Lodge left the bedroom looking a “bit angry” and was followed downstairs by other party-goers while Mr Duncan remained behind for a few minutes.
Mr Duncan said he had heard shouting from a grass area next to the house where a crowd of ten to 15 people had gathered. He added that when he got outside he saw “Declan hit Brett in the face with a bat”.
Worried about being involved, Mr Duncan left the scene and was joined on his walk home by McKail, who told him he “never touched” Brett.
Mr Duncan said that he, Robertson, Parfinowski, McKail and Brett Lodge were very good friends, and agreed that Robertson and Mr Lodge were “like brothers”.
Earlier yesterday, fellow party-goer Nicole Blues, 17, told the court that she saw Robertson strike Mr Lodge’s ribs and head with the bat.
Ms Blues, of Drylaw, said the victim fell to the ground after being struck. She added that she then saw Parfinowski kick Mr Lodge on the head and body as he lay on the ground.
Mr Lodge later died from his injuries at the Western General on July 9 last year.
Prosecution lawyers allege the four teenagers attacked the victim at a path between Claverhouse Drive and Glendinning Crescent. It is alleged that they assaulted Mr Lodge by repeatedly punching him on the head and body.
It is then alleged that the four men repeatedly struck him on the head and body with baseball bats before knocking him to the ground.
The trial before temporary judge John Morris QC continues.