Newton Abbot murder accused: 'I caught friend with my missus and fought for my dignity'
A VAGRANT killed a friend who let him live at his house after catching him having sex with his girlfriend, a court has been told.
Bryan Harris, 45, was so enraged when he saw Paul Drury and Dawn Lewis on the floor together that he felt he had to fight for his 'dignity'.
He told a jury in his murder trial at Exeter Crown Court that the pair fought for five minutes at the house in Valley Path, Newton Abbot, before he got the better of Mr Drury but then he continued to punch and kick him in a prolonged attack when he was on the floor.
He denied the prosecution claim that he used a frying pan to batter the half-naked Mr Drury to death.
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Harris told the court that he had been homeless for 27 years before meeting Ms Lewis last autumn.
He said the pair moved into Mr Drury's house six weeks before the incident.
Harris said that on the day Mr Drury died, the couple dropped him off in the town centre while they went to a field where Ms Lewis owned a horse.
They later picked him up from The Locomotive pub in a drunken state and took him home. Harris said the group went to Mr Drury's bedroom where they all sat around drinking and watching television.
He said he woke up after drinking eight or nine cans. He added: "I went downstairs and Paul was on top of Dawn making love to her."
Harris asked Mr Drury what he was doing with his 'missus'.
He said: "He told me that he loved her too. I threw the first punch and he threw one back and it just went on from there."
He told the jury his previous long-term partner had died in 2009 and he placed a lot of faith in his relationship with Ms Lewis.
Harris said the violence lasted 15 to 20 minutes but that Mr Drury was on the floor after five minutes.
Defence counsel Richard Smith asked: "What made you stop?"
"I just ran out of energy," the defendant said. "I just thought to myself that I can defend my dignity."
He denied hitting Mr Drury with a frying pan.
Mr Drury, 32, died from severe injuries as a result of the incident, which probably happened in the early hours of November 13.
Harris told police in the aftermath of his arrest that a group of men and women had beaten the deceased and he had fought them off. But he told the jury he had lied about that.
He denies murder but admits causing grievous bodily harm to Ms Lewis.
Ms Lewis told the jury she could not remember the incident.
She sustained a split lip, two black eyes and bruising after 'something happened' to upset and anger Harris, the court heard.
Ms Lewis, 46, was cross-examined by Richard Smith QC, defending and she repeatedly denied having sexual intercourse with Mr Drury, stating she could not remember what had happened on the night of the attacks.
Ms Lewis — who admits a 'failed sexual encounter with Mr Drury five years previously — claims she drank half-a-can of Special Brew and later took a Zopiclone tablet before sleeping in the downstairs living room with Harris.
Mr Smith suggested she had become confused about the sequence of events.
Mr Smith said: "After a period of time watching television, talking and drinking Mr Harris fell asleep at the foot of the bed.
"He later woke to find you and Mr Drury not in the room but downstairs having sex together in the living room."
Ms Lewis replied: "I did not have sex with him. I would remember that."
Mr Smith said: "Why would you remember having sex with Mr Drury but not remember being assaulted?"
Miss Lewis said a 'bang on the head' sustained during the assault would have affected her memory.
Mr Smith QC said: "You agree that if Mr Harris attacked you and Mr Drury, something had happened to cause him a great deal of upset"
The trial continues.