Man accused of GBH said chef threatened him with a knife
A man accused of causing serious injuries to a head chef at a Suffolk hotel told jurors he was threatened with a knife when he went to see him.
Giving evidence on the second day of his trial at Ipswich Crown Court, Paul Falco, 39, said he had gone to see Michael Johnson at the Worlington Hotel, near Mildenhall, where the chef worked to "discuss what his problem was".
Following the alleged attack, Mr Johnson was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, where he was found to have a fractured skull, air and blood in his brain, fractures to his cheekbone and round his eyes, a fractured wrist and extensive bruising.
Falco, of Bridge End Road, Red Lodge, has pleaded not guilty to wounding Mr Johnson with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm on April 17 this year.
Yesterday, the jury heard voicemail messages that Mr Johnson had left Falco in which he swore at him multiple times.
Falco had also called Mr Johnson 25 times between March 27 and April 10, the court heard.
Asked by his barrister, Simon Connelly, why he had gone to see Mr Johnson, Falco replied: "Michael invited me to the hotel. He just told me to come there."
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Falco said it was not unusual for Mr Johnson to contact him late at night and so he went to "discuss what his problem was and what he had running through his mind."
Falco told the jury he went to the hotel on his own by car and saw two men outside the premises. He said he told the men he wanted to see the chef and they took him up to Mr Johnson's room.
Falco admitted to carrying a piece of wood, which was being used to keep a fire door open, as he did not know who the two men were.
"I thought they might be something to do with Michael," he said.
Falco said he knocked on the door of Mr Johnson's room and was invited in.
Falco told the jury: "He said: 'I have got something for you,' and was stood there with a knife."
Falco said he then punched Mr Johnson "three or four times" and kicked him in the leg before making a "fast exit" from the hotel.
Falco, who suffered no injuries, denied using anything to hit Mr Johnson and said he left the piece of wood on Mr Johnson's bedroom floor.
The court heard that a consultant neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital said it was unlikely that Mr Johnson's injuries had come from a single blow or a fall.
Under cross examination by Benedict Peers, prosecuting, Falco was asked why someone had forced Mr Johnson's door. He replied: "I have no idea."
Falco also denied suggestions from Mr Peers that he had recruited other people to "give Michael Johnson a beating".
A few weeks before the alleged attack, Mr Johnson had found Falco, whose wife was the manager of the hotel, in the kitchen taking something out of the freezer.
Falco told the jury that he believed he had permission from the hotel owner to take "a carrier bag full" of meat from the freezer after being informed by his wife.
But giving evidence, hotel owner Kadambari Suri told the court that she had not given any permission for Falco to take the meat, and it was agreed that the value of the food taken would be paid back.
The trial continues.