‘I know Luke didn’t say anything bad’, friend tells court in Fallowfield murder trial

‘I’m not sure what got this guy’s back up or why he felt the need to respond in the way he did’

A friend of Luke O’Connor, the second year MMU student fatally stabbed in Fallowfield last October, said she’s sure neither Luke nor his friend, Charlie Robertson, said “anything bad” to provoke the attack.

19-year-old Luke was walking home with two friends from a Halloween party on 26th October last year. The jury heard from Luke’s friend, Daisy Wood that the trio were in “good spirits” and had decided to get some snacks before returning home.

In an emotional statement on the second day of the murder trial, she described to the jury how she stayed with Luke after the attack talking to him in an attempt to “keep him with us and make sure that he knew we were there with him”.

“I just kept on holding his head because it was wet and cold on the floor,” she said.

Shiloh George Pottinger is accused of murdering Luke. While he has plead guilty to possession of a bladed article, he denies the charge of murder.

The court heard how Pottinger, who was holding a skateboard, was leaning against a shutter near a row of shops and takeaways on Wilmslow Road near UoM’s Fallowfield campus.

Leading the prosecution, Mark Ford KC described how Pottinger reacted “unpredictably and violently” to a “silly, light-hearted” comment Charlie made about performing a ‘kick flick’ on a skateboard.

CCTV footage allegedly shows Luke and Pottinger then engaging in a fight in the road. Luke punched the defendant and held on to him, but as he did so Pottinger “repeatedly” stabbed him to the body, Mr Ford said. The knife, which Pottinger had purchased on the internet, was photographed by a paramedic at the scene.

After fleeing the incident and discarding of his skateboard, it is alleged, he asked two women to call an an ambulance for himself as he had sustained an ‘accidental self-inflicted’ cut to his hand during the fight. However, the court heard that Pottinger then told the women to cancel the call before “running away”. It is alleged he then washed his clothes in an attempt to avoid detection.

Earlier in the night, Pottinger had been drinking at a nearby bar. Mr Ford explained how he had climbed over the wall to get into the bar. The prosecution argued this showed he was trying to hide his knife as he did not want to “risk” being searched by door staff.

Following the incident, Mr Ford told the court that Pottinger had googled ‘how much time do you serve for killing someone?’ and ‘how much prison time do you get for knife murder?’ on his phone. Pottinger was arrested two days after the incident, on 28th October.

In footage from a police interview with Inspector Dave Montgomery after the incident, Daisy Wood said :”I’m not sure what got this guy’s back up or why he felt the need to respond in the way he did. I know Luke or Charlie didn’t say anything bad.”

When asked if she knew Pottinger, Daisy said: “No. I have never seen him before in my life.”

Following his death Luke’s family have said that Luke “loved the freedom of student living and studying and was loving life in Manchester”.

“Our lively, bubbly, beautiful boy has been taken from us and our family are now left with a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. Justice needs to be served as we have lost our beautiful young Luke, who was robbed of life.”

The trial continues.

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