PROSECUTORS say murder suspects Dale Jones and Damien Hunt marched after pensioner Mushin Ahmed "like soldiers", before ambushing him in a “brutal and savage attack” when trees screened him from the road.
Mr Andrew Robertson countered claims by Hunt (30), of Doncaster Road, Clifton, that he tried several times to stop Jones (30), of East Bawtry Road, Whiston, from attacking Mr Ahmed (81) in Eastwood.
He played CCTV footage showing Jones jogging after Mr Ahmed, appearing to beckon for Hunt to follow.
The video shows Hunt jogging after Jones, catching up with him and walking alongside.
Jones had asked Mr Ahmed (pictured) if he was "out grooming", adding that he wanted to "have a word with him", Hunt said.
He claimed he was talking with Jones as the pair walked, trying to persuade him to "leave it".
Referring to the footage, Mr Robertson said: "You're walking together, stride for stride, almost like soldiers.
"You're walking down together. You're both on the same mission."
Hunt replied: "It's not like that. It's the total opposite."
Mr Robertson asked: "Where can we see the total opposite?"
Hunt answered: "You can't see that on the camera. But I was trying to talk him out of it, telling him to just leave it."
The barrister said: "When you go after Mr Ahmed, your hood is up, when it wasn't up two minutes earlier."
Hunt replied: "Yes it was, it was up when we were in the ginnel."
Mr Robertson said: "You knew exactly what you were going to do and you paced things so you could attack Mr Ahmed when he was in that secluded area at 3am."
Hunt answered: "No."
Mr Robertson asked: "So it's just coincidence that he was attacked away from CCTV?"
Hunt replied: "Yes."
Hunt told the court that Jones' verbal abuse had "shocked" him and left Mr Ahmed "s*** scared".
Mr Robertson suggested that, if Mr Ahmed was scared, he would try to escape rather than turning to confront Jones in trees.
Hunt replied: "Perhaps he had had enough of the abuse."
The barrister referred to lies in accounts about that night which Hunt gave to police.
He noted that Hunt told officers Jones lashed out at him when he intervened in the assault.
But testifying in court today, Hunt claimed that he threw the first punch at Jones because he had "had enough" of him.
Mr Robertson asked: "Is it fair to say you are someone who would lie to get out of trouble?"
Hunt replied: "I have lied to police, yes."
Mr Robertson added that the pair looked "the best of mates" and "in perfect harmony" as they walked away from the scene, leaving Mr Ahmed severely injured.
He asked Hunt: "Would it be fair to say that this was a most brutal and savage attack on that 81-year-old man?"
Hunt replied: "Yes."
He asked Hunt: "You were equally involved in this attack, weren't you?"
Hunt replied: "No."
Mr Robertson said: "Surely if you were horrified by what [Jones] had done you would want to get away from him."
Hunt replied: "I was stopping him from going back."
Jones refused the opportunity to testify in his own defence, having made no comment to police through six interviews about Mr Ahmed.
Both men deny murder. The trial continues.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.