A MAN has told a murder trial his best friend gave him a hug moments before he lost consciousness after a savage attack.

Oli Smith-Daye was allegedly punched, stamped on and assaulted with a golf club after trouble flared in a Clacton street.

Carpenter Mr Smith-Daye, 29, died after the incident in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

A jury heard Mr Smith-Daye was the victim of a brutal and sustained assault after he left a party at a house in Trimley Close. His friend, Mark Fletcher, told Chelmsford Crown Court he tried to comfort Mr Smith-Daye.

Mr Fletcher told the jury: “He grabbed hold of me and gave me a hug. “I set him down to the ground as he was in a lot of pain. Then he lost consciousness.”

The jury of seven women and five men heard neighbours were woken by the incident.

One man was seen wielding a golf club and charging towards Mr Smith-Daye, while a woman was seen pushing him, the court heard.

Another neighbour looked towards a nearby low wall and saw a man stamping and punching something behind the wall. John Coffey, QC, prosecuting, told the court it was Mr Smith-Daye, of West Avenue, Clacton.

Mr Fletcher had gone to call the emergency services from a phone box and when he returned, Mr Smith-Daye was propping himself up.

He said of Mr Smith-Daye: “He was in a bad state. He was not making any sense when I tried to talk to him, and he was in a lot of pain.

“He said, ‘I can’t believe they hit me like that’, and said he thought they had broken his neck.”

Mr Smith-Daye fell unconscious and died of head injuries later.

The prosecution claims Charlie Jacobs, 23, of Beach Road, Clacton; Alan Didier, 42, of Renfrew Close, East London; and Elisha Francois, 21, formerly of Trimley Close, Clacton, but now living in Amersham Walk, Harold Hill, were responsible for the death. They all deny murder.

The trial heard Mr Smith-Daye and Mr Fletcher had been at a party at the house next door to where the three murder accused spent the evening.

The friends left at about 4am, but Mr Smith-Daye returned and knocked on the door because he had left his car keys behind. There was no response, so he called through the letter box.

This led to Francois coming out from the house next door and allegedly accusing Mr Smith-Daye of waking her child.

The two were said to have got involved in a row before the prosecution alleged Jacobs and then Didier joined in. Mr Coffey alleged Didier had armed himself with a golf club and ran after Mr Smith-Daye.

The court was told Francois joined in, trying to hit Mr Smith-Daye, before Jacobs appeared on the scene and then Didier emerged from the house brandishing a golf club.

l The trial continues