A WHITEHAVEN man accused of helping to inflict a “savage beating” that amounted to torture on one of his friends told a jury he helped the victim.

At Carlisle Crown Court, 32-year-old Jordan Starkey denied joining the violent attack on 40-year-old Sam McMahon over a “prolonged” period in mid-June last year.

He was giving evidence on day two of his trial, having denied robbery, false imprisonment, and intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.

Jurors were told that two other men have already pleaded guilty to intentionally wounding Mr McMahon during the incident at St James Court, Whitehaven. During the attack, the court heard, the victim was punched, stamped on, and hit with a golf club.

He suffered extensive facial fractures.

Under questioning from defence barrister Brendan Burke, Starkey accepted that he had previous convictions for violence – offences of battery, an affray, and causing grievous bodily harm. But he had always accepted his guilt and pleaded guilty, he said.

Asked why he had refused to answer police questions following his arrest, he said: “It was from the advice of my solicitor at the time.”

He said he had known Mr McMahon for two years, the two of them having previously taken a “Thinking Skills” course together in Carlisle.

He said he had intervened when Mr McMahon was being bullied, with the people he associated with taking his benefit money from him.

“I said you can’t be doing that to him and from then it stopped,” he told the court. The defendant said he also arranged for his girlfriend to give Mr McMahon a TV after his flat was burgled.

He said he had been staying at the St James Court flat in Whitehaven where the victim was attacked because he had fallen out with his girlfriend.

At the flat, he said, he saw Dane Eldridge-Dalton, 35, slap Mr McMahon on the face. “I didn’t even know what it was over,” he said. He told them to “calm it down,” he said.

Questioned further, Starkey said that Mr McMahon gave him a Zanax tablet and, needing to “crash”, he went to the bedroom and fell asleep. Feeling “dazed” when he woke up the next morning, he went outside.

He said he spent around four and a half hours outside at a barbecue, returning to find Mr McMahon bleeding from his face. “I didn’t know what had gone on,” he said.

Starkey said he gave Mr McMahon a drink of water and painkillers and cleaned blood from his face. “Did you ask Sam what had gone on?” said Mr Burke. Starkey replied: “Yes. I said what happened. He said: ‘They’ve done me in.’”

Mr Burke then asked: “You know what the allegations are – that you were involved in this vicious attack on Sam. Were you?”

Starkey replied: “No.”

The defendant then faced questioning from prosecutor Tim Evans. The barrister pointed out that a woman had made a statement to the police saying he was not at the barbecue at all, to which Starkey said she had seen him there.

Asked why he had not tried to get the names of the 20 people who were at the event, the defendant said: “I was remanded into custody.”

“You have just lied to the jury about all of that, haven’t you?” said Mr Evans. “No,” said Starkey. The barrister said the defendant made up the idea that he was Mr McMahon’s “protector.”

The defendant rejected that allegation.

Mr Evans then listed the defendant’s previous convictions for violence – seven offences of battery, one wounding, and an affray, all offences committed since 2013. “I’m a totally different person to what I was then,” said the defendant.

Mr Evans suggested that if Starkey was Mr McMahon's "protector" and friend he would have been "absolutely devastated by the frankly savage beating" he suffered.

"I didn't know what happened, did it?" said Starkey in response. The prosecutor said Starkey took a leading role in the attack.

The barrister said the defendant had “ordered” one of the men involved to take Mr McMahon to the chemists to collect his methadone after the violence. “Why would I do that?” asked Starkey.

“Because you are a scary, violent man, and people do what scary violent men tell them to do, don’t they, Mr Starkey.,” said Mr Evans.

“You were in charge of this beating… because you were the scariest and you were the biggest and you were the most violent that night.

“You didn’t give one jot for the person who was getting battered because you were doing the beating.”

Starkey denied hearing Mr McMahon being called a “nonce” because there were messages on his phone to a 14-year-old girl from Workington.

“You decided you were going to give him a punishment beating,” continued Mr Evans, telling Starkey he had threatened to castrate Mr McMahon with scissors.

The barrister said: “You regard yourself as the big, hard enforcer, don’t you?” Starkey said: “No.”

Starkey said Mr McMahon had been “mistaken” when he told police that the defendant was involved in the beating.

“If you’d been nice to him,” said Mr Evans, “it would be a bit odd for him to say you were hitting him with a golf club; that you were putting him in a choke hold to stop him leaving; that you were holding a pair of scissors to scare him.

“You were stamping on his head.”

Starkey said: “No.”  “You were repeatedly punching him,”  insisted Mr Evans. Again, Starkey said: “No,” adding: “I just think he’s got the wrong person.”

The trial continues.