Court hears from husband as ex-soldier denies murder in street
A HUSBAND whose wife was stabbed to death in a Bristol street insists he did not struggle with the armed man accused of murdering her.
Augustine Ege told a jury he panicked when Barach Bandavad revealed a gun and two knives – and ran from the scene, leaving behind his wife Judith in the belief believing Bandavad would follow him.
Mr Ege said: "I was gripped with a lot of panic and a lot of fear. I didn't shout anything, I was gripped with a lot of fear and panic.
"I wish I had screamed and yelled 'run!'. I didn't. I just ran."
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The Crown's case is that after Mr Ege ran, Bandavad cut his wife's throat in the back of a Vauxhall Corsa car they had hired to collect the belongings of Mr Ege's daughter Samantha Hines.
Bandavad's lawyers claim that Mrs Ege received her fatal injuries in the course of a struggle between the defendant and Mr Ege.
Former soldier Bandavad, 38, an Abbey Wood MoD worker of Highbury Road, Horfield, denies murdering Mrs Ege on June 30 last year.
Bristol Crown Court has heard the defendant had helped Mrs Ege, 58, and her husband load the car.
But suddenly, the jury was told, his mood changed and he demanded that the three of them go for a drive, showing that he was armed with a gun and two knives.
Richard Smith QC, defending, put it to Mr Ege that he had tried to tackle Bandavad, leading to a scuffle resulting in his wife's fatal injuries.
But Mr Ege told the court: "I didn't struggle with him. I didn't see any injuries to my wife at the time.
"My running off was to try and draw him away and call the police."
Neighbour Laurence Moate said he had looked out from his first-floor flat and noticed two black men talking either side of a silver hatchback before one of them "nudged" a woman into the back of the car.
He looked out again to see two feet sticking out of the car, and one of the men returning to push them inside.
Mr Moate said: "Her feet came up. He had to give it a few pushes to get it shut.
"It is a student house, there is a lot of messing around that goes on. I looked away."
When he looked back, Mr Moate said he saw one of the men with a squeezy bottle, crouched by the car's fuel filler cap, and try to light something he deposited there.
He said: "It didn't appear to work. He came round to the back of the car and proceeded to walk off down the road towards Darnley Avenue.
"He had a bag in his hand and I believe he had a gun in the other. He was holding it by the barrel, which seemed rather strange."
Alan Lock described how a black man ran towards him in Darnley Avenue and shouted: "Call the police! He's holding a gun to my wife!"
Mr Lock said he attempted to call police but another black man following took his phone from him.
The jury was played a recording of a 999 call in which Mr Lock said "Good morning, police please" before the call went dead.
Mr Lock said he went home to call police. Realising he had blood on his right hand, his son took a photograph of it and his wife used a clean cotton bud to swab it, before placing it into a plastic bag.
Caroline Stone told the jury a man waved her down in her car in the middle of the road in Horfield.
She said: "I stopped and put the central locking on. I wound the window down a couple of inches and he asked if I could help and could I phone somebody. He said his wife was round the corner and there was a guy with a gun and a knife."
She said the man was upset about his wife and said: "She may be dead".
Matthew Greenhalgh, Ms Stone's colleague, told the court the man who waved them down was upset, stressed and crying and told them: "The man's going to kill my wife. She'll be dead by now."
The case continues.