A DEWSBURY man said he “didn’t mean to hurt” a father-of-two he allegedly mowed down in a pub car park.
Jaelan Herlt, 20, has denied murdering 32-year-old Jonathan Binns outside the Scarborough pub in Thornhill last year.
Herlt and friend Khaleem Harris, also 20, are accused of running Thornhill man Mr Binns over following a bust-up in the pub car park.
A jury at Bradford Crown Court heard this week that Herlt claimed a group of men were attacking his Ford Fiesta at the time of the fatal collision. He also alleged that someone shouted “black c***” at him.
Herlt, of Derwent Road, said he wasn’t involved in any of the violence that had happened earlier on the night of February 17, but that Harris was struggling with three or four men after arriving at the scene later.
He told Harris, of North Road, Dewsbury, that they needed to leave and said the men came for the car when he turned the ignition on.
In evidence, Herlt said he thought the men were hitting or kicking his car and were shouting something to the effect of “get out of the f****** car”.
Herlt claimed he told the men to get out of the way because he was scared they might get into the car.
Most of them moved but a man and woman were in his way, but he drove past them.
Herlt told the court he remembered “seeing a male come from the corner of my eye on the passenger side”.
He said the man was on the bonnet of his car when he drove forward but he thought he had jumped off because he “disappeared”.
The jury heard that Herlt panicked because he thought he had run someone over, and drove off with Harris and his girlfriend before abandoning the car on the secluded Hall Lane adjacent to Rectory Park. He claimed he thought his life would be in danger and so didn’t stop after leaving the scene.
When questioned by his barrister Peter Moulson QC: “Did you intend to kill him?” Herlt replied: “No, I didn’t even mean to hurt him. I didn’t know where he was. He just came out of nowhere.”
Mr Binns, of Ings Crescent in Thornhill, who worked at Dewsbury-based Dust Control Systems in Shaw Cross Business Park, died of multiple injuries including bruising of the lower abdomen, a scalp laceration and extensive pelvic fractures.
Herlt said: “I was shocked and scared. I didn’t know what to say or do. I just thought I went over someone’s legs.”
He later sent texts to his girlfriend saying he thought had killed someone.
Harris, who is alleged to have encouraged Herlt saying: “Just f****** run him over”, has also denied charges of murder, violent disorder and possessing an offensive weapon. A Stanley knife was recovered from the abandoned Ford Fiesta.
The pair are on trial alongside eight other Dewsbury men aged between 17 and 21 who all deny a violent disorder charge. They are: Kamrren Harris, 18, of The Town, Thornhill; Thomas Chapman, 19, of Edge View, Thornhill; Kallum Harris, 19, of Ashfield, Dewsbury; Reece Hinchcliffe, 19, of Doubting Road, Thornhill; Ashley Longstaff, 20, of Lees Hall Road, Thornhill Lees; Jonathan Newby, 21, of Lees Hall Road; and Ryan Scaife, 19, of Partridge Crescent, Thornhill.
A 17-year-old is also on trial but cannot be named for legal reasons.
Newby has also denied two allegations of possessing an offensive weapon.
The trial continues.