THE girlfriend of Mark Denton fought back tears as she told a murder trial how she cradled her dying boyfriend in her arms after he was attacked with an axe at a New Year’s Eve party.
Sarah Kinnie told of her horror after Mark, 31, was attacked within moments of them arriving at the party in Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool.
Sarah said she saw Anthony Middleton, 21, and David Sowerby, 24, either side of Mark, with Sowerby holding an axe in his hand.
Seconds later, Sarah said Mark’s favourite white Vivienne Westwood shirt started to turn red.
The couple had only just arrived at the party being thrown by Dean Shadforth shortly after 10pm on December 31.
They were each speaking to friends in separate parts of the room when Sarah noticed something was wrong.
“It all happened quite quickly,” she said.
“I turned to speak to a friend and in what seemed to me to be a split second I turned back round and saw Mark’s white shirt had started to turn red.”
When asked by Jamie Hill QC, prosecuting, what Sowerby was doing, Miss Kinnie said: “He had an axe in his hand.”
She said a scuffle broke out and Mark moved further up the room. She told the jury she saw Middleton delivering punches to the left side of Mark’s head.
Miss Kinnie said she hit Middleton three or four times to his temple moments after the attack, and noticed Mark was on the floor seriously injured.
“I knelt down next to Mark,” she said.
“I had hold of him and was saying ‘are you alright, are you alright?’”
She told how she took a nearby curtain and put it against his head to try to stop the bleeding from a large wound.
“Mark was trying to talk, but for some reason no words were coming out,” she said.
Paramedics and police arrived shortly afterwards and put Mark on a stretcher and took him to a waiting ambulance outside.
Miss Kinnie earlier told the court how she had gone out with Mark for just under three years.
The couple were then living with Mark’s parents while they saved up to buy their own home together.
She told how they had gone out for a couple of drinks on the Headland earlier that night and had tickets to go to a dance concert in Middlesbrough.
But after people dropped out, and to save money, they decided to stay in Hartlepool instead.
Miss Kinnie said Mark heard about the party in Hutton Avenue earlier that night when he called in to see someone, and asked her if she wanted to go.
She is due to continue with her evidence today.
Middleton, of Bruntoft Avenue, and Sowerby, of Allerton Close, both Hartlepool, deny murder.
The trial is expected to last for at least two weeks.
Earlier updates from the trial include: