A MAN accused of murdering a father-of-eight could not have taken part in the attack because he was wearing a sling, a jury has heard.

Prosecutors at Preston Crown Court have told how Steven Thurston had his head ‘caved in’ in just over a minute by two half-brothers after he sold their mother ‘bad drugs’.

Mr Thurston was found by a friend lying in a pool of blood on June 9 after brothers George Preshur, 30, and Andrew Tait, went to his home in Sussex Drive, Blackburn, armed with wooden poles, the prosecution allege.

Preshur, of Keele Walk, Blackburn, admitted murdering Mr Thurston, while Tait pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

As evidence for the defence came to a close yesterday, Tait’s barrister, Andrew O’Byrne asked his client a series of questions. They included whether the brothers had been at Thurston’s house for very long, whether the attack had taken very long and whether Tait had been counting the number of blows Mr Thurston received from Preshur.

Tait responded “no” to each question.

Mr O’Byrne continued: “I want to ask you about the injury to your hand for which you wear a sling.

“We have seen footage of you with your arm in the sling when you entered Mr Thurston’s house.

“You told the jury you received that injury during an attack when two people broke into your house and assaulted you.”

Mr O’Byrne added that Tait had had surgery on the hand, and two people had been prosecuted and convicted for the attack, which was carried out using Nunchucks, a knife and metal bars.

On the night of June 9, a taxi driver who had dropped Tait at his mother’s house remembers seeing him wearing a sling.

Tait was later caught on CCTV leaving Mr Thurston’s house having abandoned the sling, and was carrying a wooden pole in his left hand.

Mr O’Byrne asked his defendant: “Explain again why it was you were carrying that piece of wood in your left hand rather than your right.”

Tait replied: “Because I couldn’t hold anything in my right hand and couldn’t bend my fingers.”

Closing the case for the defence, Mr O’Byrne told Judge Clive Freedman he had no further evidence to present.

Both Tait and Preshur were arrested two days after the murder, on June 11.

Tait said he had entered Mr Thurston’s home with his brother on the date in question, and that they both had planks of wood with them, however he asserts he did not assault Mr Thurston in any way.

The trial, which is due to finish next week, continues.