“I was nothing to do with it – I wasn’t co-ordinating any of it”
A jury in the trial of three men jointly accused of the murder of David Crawford heard how the president of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club called the van driver who drove into and over the 59-year-old an “absolute r***** for doing this”.
David Crawford, from Ivybridge, died after his black Kawasaki motorbike was struck from behind by a Ford Transit van on the A38 on-slip at St Budeaux junction on the evening of May 12. At the time he was stationary, alongside a black Mercedes which had pulled up alongside him on the on-slip
Benjamin Parry, aged 42 of Wrights Close in Devonport was driving the van at the time while Chad Brading, aged 36 of Wright Close, Devonport and Thomas Pawley, aged 32 of Heather Walk, Ivybridge were in the Mercedes car. All three have denied the charge of murder by joint enterprise.
The jury previously heard how Mr Crawford was a member of the Red Chiefs Motorcycle Club (MC) – affiliated to the more notorious Hells Angels gang – whereas Parry, Brading and Pawley were all members of the rival Bandidos Motorcycle Club (MC)
The jury at Plymouth Crown Court listened as junior prosecution counsel Simon Jones and Det Sgt Joe Mercer read out the interview with Brading following his second arrested in June this year. Brading, who had been identified as the President of the Plymouth chapter of the Bandidos MC, whilst Parry was the secretary and Pawley the ‘road captain’.
During the interview Brading claimed that while he was in the Mercedes he had dropped his phone in his lap and effectively sat there with an “open line” while Parry was speaking on the phone in the cab of the Ford Transit in the lead up to the collision. In response to questions from the officer whether Parry was “talking to nobody”, he said this was correct, adding “I didn’t even realise he was on the phone. I wasn’t even on the phone to him. I dropped the phone in my lap – I don’t know where it went, I didn’t have it in my possession.”
Questioned about why the Mercedes turned back along the A38 heading east from the Tamar Bridge, just a few yards behind Mr Crawford on his black Kawasaki, Brading claimed that Mr Crawford “came off the A38 [at the St Budeaux junction] because he knew he was being followed”.
Asked how Mr Crawford knew he was being followed, Brading replied: “Well, he has mirrors hasn’t he?” before suggesting that such questioning was irrelevant.
Asked about the collision, and how Parry had ended up on the same slip-road at exactly the same time as he and Pawley had pulled up alongside Mr Crawford, he told police “I was nothing to do with it – I wasn’t coordinating any of it”.
Brading said he had two daughters and he just wanted to “go home and see my girls”. He said he did not join a motorcycle club to commit murder, saying he joined to “have fun”.
He added: “I feel sorry for the poor b****** – and now he’s dead.”
Brading said he thought Parry had made a “massive mistake”, saying Mr Crawford’s death was “a terrible tragedy”. He said the Mercedes pulled up in front of the motorbike by around 20 feet and the motorbike stopped and then pulled up alongside the car.
He said Mr Crawford looked at the men in the Mercedes and then the white van “came out of nowhere”. Accused of directing Parry to the location, Brading replied “absolutely not”.
He suggested that “hypothetically” if he was to orchestrate such an act he would not use a vehicle which everyone knew had a dashcam and cab-cam in it, and using their own mobile phones throughout, adding “we’re not idiots”, intimating that they “watched TV” and knew of these things. He said such an act would be “absolute madness” saying “the things you’re throwing at me is barking mad.”
He accused Parry of being an “absolute r***** for doing this”, saying Parry acted alone “100 percent acted alone”. He said he could “not get my head around it” adding that Parry had “f***ed everyone else’s lives” by what he had done. He said there as “no plan, there’s no nothing”.
Accused of being in charge of the plan to target a Red Chief’s club member, noting that he was the President of the Plymouth chapter of the rival Bandidos MC, Brading said “absolutely not… it was all on him [Parry] – no one else knew what he was going to do”.
Asked what happened to his mobile phone used in the Mercedes Brading admitted he had lost it at an “inflatable park” in Ivybridge he attended with one of his daughters, a day or so after the collision – and one day before he handed himself in to police at Charles Cross police station. He admitted he had not reported it lost or stolen, did not use any phone-finder apps, did not try and locate it nor contact his phone provider.
Instead he borrowed a phone for a short period of time before buying a new SIM card from the Co-op and using an old spare phone.
The jury also heard from a depot manager at the firm where Parry worked as a “jet vacuum engineer” saying he had been brought into the office and warned in the past about having his dog and smoking in the cab of his van, both of which had been seen on the cab-cam installed in all the company’s vehicles and both of which were not permitted by the firm’s rules.
The court also heard from Andrew Wilson, a civilian employed by Devon and Cornwall Police as an analyst. He gave evidence relating to the calls and messages which went between Parry, and others involved in the case and the specific timings and locations where these took place. He confirmed that Parry and Brading’s phones were in communication in the time leading up to, during and after the collision with Mr Crawford’s motorbike, which took place at 8.39pm and 52 seconds.
He also revealed that at 9.28pm and eight seconds on that same night Parry’s phone underwent a factory reset, effectively wiping it of all information.
The jury heard from lip-reading expert Susan Whitewood who gave evidence about words believed to be spoken by Parry on the cab-cam footage. It was noted that some of her interpretations were similar to that of the defence’s expert, while other elements were different.
At one point – at 8.39pm and 21 seconds, both experts agreed that Parry said “F***” followed by either “when” or “where do I” followed by “which way to go”.
Ms Whitewood said that her interpretation of Parry’s words shortly before the collision with Mr Crawford was “oi man” or “oh man” followed by “watch this, watch this” before biting his tongue.
The trial continues.
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