Cumbria Crack

Man stabbed as friend was fatally knifed in Carlisle gives evidence to jury

John Cingelis

A MAN stabbed as his friend was allegedly murdered in Carlisle has told a jury of his wish to see “justice” done.

John Cingelis suffered a single, “unsurvivable” knife wound at his Brantwood Avenue home on the morning of April 12. Barry Cartwright, who had been staying at the property, suffered a knife wound to his arm.

Two men – Blair Dixon and Alfonso Bitton, both aged 25 – are on trial at the city’s crown court. They deny murdering Mr Cingelis, who was 37, and deny intentionally wounding Mr Cartwright.

An altercation at the Harraby address is alleged to have occurred as both Dixon and Bitton came looking for the former’s £135 Canada Goose beanie hat, the pair having socialised there the night before without incident.

Giving evidence, Mr Cartwright spoke of drinking cider with Mr Cingelis that night, when there had also been drug-taking. He confirmed people had visited the house on previous occasions to drink and take drugs, which had, he admitted, also been sold on the premises.

Of the morning of April 12, he described being roused by a man who stood over him and “presented” a knife. “He is stomping around the living room, saying ‘where’s my hat?’, swearing, (using) profanities, telling us how much the hat was worth, and called us a bunch of tramps, basically,” said Mr Cartwright, who agreed under cross-examination it was “possible” he woke in an aggressive mood.

Alistair Webster QC, for Dixon, suggested his client went to the address that morning to “swap cannabis with Valium”. Mr Webster further suggested Mr Cartwright “wanted the cannabis off him”, and “picked up some sort of weapon and went to attack” Dixon. Mr Cartwright replied: “That’s his opinion.”

Mr Webster said: “What I’m suggesting is that things quickly kicked off because of your aggression.”

Mr Cartwright responded: “You might say that. I can’t recall at the moment. It’s still no reason for somebody to be stabbed and killed.” When later asked by prosecutor Michael Brady QC to clarify whether he picked up any weapon, Mr Cartwright replied: “Not as I recall.”

The jury has heard that, during identification procedures, on April 14, Mr Cartwright picked out Dixon, of Welsh Road, Carlisle, as responsible for stabbing he and Mr Cingelis, and identified Bitton, of Eldon Drive, as being there at the time. Mr Cartwright told the jury today (WED) it was “possible” he selected Bitton because he had been at the address the night before.

Mr Cartwright had earlier spoken of his wish to see “justice”, saying: “All I wanted, to come here today, is to prove that my brother (friend, Mr Cingelis) died, and he was killed.”

The trial continues.