A key witness in the Connor Saunders manslaughter trial was the first person to give evidence at Hove Crown Court yesterday (October 17).

The girl, 13 at the time of the incident but now 14, witnessed the punch.

In a video statement recorded the day after the incident she said she knew both the victim and the defendant.

The girl described how she had been out with her friends before they gathered outside Tesco and bumped into Connor and his friends.

She said she was talking to Connor, wearing a checked shirt and white T-shirt – as seen in CCTV aired in court – and he was telling them how he “loved” a girl.

The girl said she saw one of Connor’s friends – whose name she did not know – throw the bottle.

Describing the moment when the bottle was thrown, she said: “He shouted, ‘it’s head up’ and threw it at the woman and she dropped her shopping.”

Afterwards she described how she was talking to someone else when she saw an argument between Connor and two younger boys.

She said the two younger boys called the defendant over.

Describing why, she said: “He [the defendant] is a lot bigger. He sticks up for everyone. He is quite a strong character.”

She said the next thing she heard was Connor, standing outside the supermarket, say: “If you are going to hit me, hit me now.”

Afterwards she said she saw the defendant punch Connor once. She said Connor was knocked to the ground, surrounded in blood and not breathing and the defendant just “stared” at her.

She said: “I turned to [the defendant]. He rolled his sleeves up and carried on walking. Me and [another witness] ran over to Connor and started shaking him.

“Two people from the car [which Connor’s friends had been in] ran over to [the defendant] and picked up a bottle from the floor and held it behind him [the defendant].

“It smashed just behind him.

“Connor was still lying there unconscious.”

She added: “He [the defendant] was not that sort of character. It was such a shock to me.”

The trial continues.

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