Murder accused Gareth Jenkins today told a court he punched his alleged victim three times because he believed he had a knife and feared for his own life. Newport Crown Court heard the former second row rugby player for Brynmawr and Ebbw Vale hit Harry Towers, 56, in "self-defence" outside the Britannia pub, Abergavenny, on October 28, 2010, after Towers swung at him, catching his shoulder.
His punch sent Mr Towers backwards through a doorway and Jenkins admits punching him again as he tried to get up and once more as he lay on the ground because he feared he would be stabbed. Giving evidence at his trial yesterday, Jenkins, 48, of Boundary Street, Brynmawr, said he agreed to go outside with Mr Towers after he started an argument and took at swing at him inside the pub’s bar.
But Jenkins, who denies murder, claims he only wanted to talk to him and did not want to fight. He said he knew about Mr Towers’ previous convictions for violent crimes, including being handed a seven-year jail term for firing a shot gun at a man in the street in 1991, and feared he might be carrying a weapon. Former labourer and plasterer, Jenkins, said he didn’t realise how badly injured Mr Towers was until after he was arrested.
Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, accused Jenkins of "making up" his concerns about the knife - which he said failed to mention in his first two police interviews - claiming he invented the story when he realised how much trouble he was in. Jenkins denies this. Mr Towers, who suffered a fractured jaw, cheekbone and eye socket, and a displaced wrist fracture, died on December 22, 2010 at Nevill Hall Hospital.