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Blood on the floor after knife incident, jury at Wick hears

By Gordon Calder

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A CREW member on a Spanish fishing boat saw "blood on the floor" after a knife was used in a fight between the skipper and his chief mate, a jury at Wick Sheriff Court has been told.

Andres Cortegoso Grana, the 57-year old chief engineer on the Brisca was in his bed just before midnight on August 20 last year while the vessel was berthed at Scrabster. He heard there had been trouble on the bridge and went to see what was happening. There had been an incident involving the skipper, Adolfo Pego-Brion and chief mate, Marcial Antonio Torres in the wheelhouse.

"There was blood on the floor. Adolfo was very nervous and Marcial was moving about a lot and swearing. Adolfo said nothing. He was quiet," Mr Grana told the jury of 10 women and five men through an interpreter.

Pego-Brion (46), denies on indictment repeatedly stabbing the chief mate to his severe injury and danger to his life and claims he acted in self-defence as he was being attacked by Mr Torres.

Asked by fiscal David Barclay if he was aware of any injuries to the skipper, Mr Grana replied: "I did not see anything at the time but later saw marks at the base of his neck and behind his ear. Marcial had cuts on either side of his body and blood coming out."

The trial is taking place at Wick Sheriff Court
The trial is taking place at Wick Sheriff Court

Earlier, Juan Pablo Forti Buratti, a biologist who worked on another Spanish fishing boat called Genesis, said he was drinking with the Brisca skipper and chief mate at a bar in Scrabster. He told the court after about 30 minutes "rude words" were spoken and Mr Torres began to threaten his skipper.

"Adolfo was not angry and did not want any trouble. I thought Marcial was to begin a fight so members of my boat took him aside. Marcial was told he would no longer be based on the boat. You can't trust someone who threatens you. Adolfo spoke to the owners of his boat and the harbour authorities. Marcial left the bar and not in the best condition," said Mr Buratti who went on to have a drink in a Thurso bar.

He later got a phone call telling him there had been trouble on the Brisca. "I was surprised when I heard about the problems. I thought they had been solved," he said.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor, Fiona MacDonald, Mr Buratti described Mr Torres as "more than drunk" and aggressive.

When Mr Torres returned to Scrabster from Thurso he said Adolfo was "shocked and relieved."

"I have survived," he said.

A joint minute between the prosecution and defence agreed a number of facts, including that Mr Torres had "a four centimetre wound to the upper part of his left shoulder, a wound to the left flank and a two centimetre wound to the upper part of the right side of his back, penetrating to at least 40 millimetres into the right lung."

The first two injuries were described as "fairly superficial" but if the third had been "a few millimetres on either side then it could have penetrated a blood vessel within the lung which can be life threatening."

Pego-Brion had several injuries, including two millimetre puncture wounds to the right lower inner arm and left inner wrist, two tiny puncture wounds to the right lower outer arm and a 1.4 centimetre incision to the left side of the jaw with "slight surrounding bruising."

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