A DEFENDANT accused of leaving a man with brain injuries said in a police interview that he had not punched him "excessively".
Joshua Jones said he rugby-tackled Michael Evans and punched him three or four times after the latter had struck him with a lump hammer in a van.
But an off-duty female police call handler who witnessed the incident told officers that Jones had punched Mr Evans 15 or 20 times in the face after his victim had surrendered the weapon.
Extracts from the police interview, which took place a day after the incident outside Taibach RFC on August 14 last year, were read out at Swansea Crown Court.
Jones, 27, of Wern Road, Margam, denies two charges of causing and inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Jones had been engaged to Mr Evans's daughter — and they had two children — but the relationship ended acrimoniously, with Jones made the subject of a restraining order.
Jones and Mr Evans also had a business together and had refurbished a sunbed salon, but Jones said the other man had tried to cut him out of it.
On the night of the incident Jones said he saw Mr Evans outside the rugby club walking towards his van and so went to speak to him about access to the children.
After talking for a short while he said Evans told him to "jump in" as the traffic lights were turning green.
He stopped the van shortly afterwards whereupon Evans, according to Jones, "started going off about his daughter".
Jones said: "We had a bit of an argument and he pulled out a lump hammer and hit me to the side of the head. I put him in a headlock and that's when he tried to bite my finger."
Jones said Evans then exited the van via the driver's door and that he followed him.
Jones told officer in charge, PC David Jenkins, that he was "really scared", but asked why he did not run off at this point he replied: "I don't know — I wanted to restrain him."
Jones continued: "He's still waving the hammer about, and stood pacing back and forth and coming towards me. I remember a woman standing there. She was on the phone. I saw an opportunity to put him down on the floor — I sort of rugby-tackled him.
"That's when I started hitting him, to restrain him really."
Asked again why he had not left the scene, Jones said: "I don't know — I really don't know. I thought he might chase me. When he was waving the hammer you don't seem to think. You're just fearing, really."
Jones said he got on top of Mr Evans but said the victim was trying to swing at him from below.
"I was trying to push his arms back down," said Jones. "I didn't know if he had the hammer in his hand."
Jones told the officer that he punched the older man — now aged 54 — "to put him in a bit of shock himself".
Jones said Mr Evans went unconscious after the last of three or four punches, and that he then dragged the prone man to the central reservation for his safety.
PC Jenkins said: "What do you think of your actions?" Jones replied: "Reasonable".
He also said he had acted in self-defence.
PC Jenkins put it to Jones that Mr Evans had previously handed the hammer to the off-duty call handler and that Jones had punched him 15 to 20 times to the face.
"Definitely not," replied Jones.
PC Jenkins said that according to the call handler, Mr Evans had become unconscious after the second, third or fourth punch and that Jones had continued hitting him.
Jones again denied it, and added: "I was not punching excessively — not with all my weight. I didn't think I was going over the top."
Prosecutor Mark Hobson said Mr Evans suffered several facial lacerations, fractured nasal bones, and a traumatic brain injury which has resulted in "overwhelming fatigue and cognitive problems" to this day. Jones, meanwhile, suffered a fractured left cheekbone.
A taxi driver with first aid training who arrived at the aftermath of the scene said Mr Evans's face looked like it "was hanging off", and that he was "genuinely concerned this man was going to die".
Jones's defence is that he was acting in self-defence, and the trial continues.
Richard Youle / email@example.com / @YoulePost