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Pair convicted over man’s death after regional journalist gives evidence

A regional journalist called as a prosecution witness in a murder trial says his experience has “totally changed” the way he views the legal system.

Wales Online senior reporter Will Hayward was called to the stand at Cardiff Crown Court during the trial of Aaron Bingham and Nicholas Saleh, who were found guilty of murder and manslaughter respectively following the death of Sean Kelly.

Will, who lives on the street in Cardiff where Mr Kelly died, heard a voice shout “I am going to slice you up” during the early hours of 13 July.

The next morning he walked out of his front door to find the street “covered in blood with police everywhere”, and was subsequently called to give evidence after making a statement to police.

Bingham, left, and Saleh have ben convicted over Sean Kelly's death

Bingham, left, and Saleh have ben convicted over Sean Kelly’s death

Will, who regularly reports on court cases for Wales Online, has written of his experience taking the stand in a piece for the site.

He wrote: “I had entered this particular courtroom at Cardiff Crown Court five or six times before. Despite this I had never before felt cold sweat on my skin or felt short of breath or nervous. You walk past the public gallery where the families of the defendants are looking at you wondering if you will say something that means their loved ones spend time behind bars.

“The defendants themselves are in the dock, which amounts to a large glass fish tank behind the lawyers. It may be just me but I couldn’t help but make eye contact with them.It is such a strange dynamic. I am not there to say they are guilty. I haven’t a clue if they committed the crimes of which they are accused.

“All I can say is exactly what I heard. This may add to the body evidence of their guilt or it may completely absolve them – I have no idea. There is something comforting about that fact. I know what I heard and remember. All I do is honestly recount that and there is a simplicity to it.”

Will spent around 15 minutes giving evidence, during which time he was cross-examined by the defendants’ barristers.

He added: “This has totally changed how I see our legal system – I now have a level of sympathy with victims of crime I had never had before. In this case I had no emotional investment. What I had heard was not traumatic for me (after all I went straight back to sleep).

“I have experience of courts and it was within the last six months. Despite this I panicked on the stand. Imagine if I had been a victim of a sexual assault. Imagine if I was a child. Imagine if this crime had happened 10 years ago.

“I was doubting myself about something that happened six months ago and of which I had made notes. Imagine if I had had to describe a crime while watched by the alleged perpetrator and their family. No wonder people fall apart on the stand.”

Bingham, 18, of Tweedsmuir Road, Cardiff, was found guilty of murdering Sean Kelly while Nicholas Saleh, 46, of Adamsdown Lane, was convicted of manslaughter following the trial.

They have not yet been sentenced.