A PASSENGER who got off a bus to join in an argument which he saw from a top window has told a jury that he was trying to protect a group of teenagers. 

John Phillips was filmed on CCTV looking out of the window of the bus as it passed through the centre of Teignmouth and then leaving it to intervene.

He told Exeter Crown Court that he saw an adult threatening two teenaged boys and got off to stop him ‘bullying’ them. He then punched the man because he thought he was about to be attacked.

Phillips was on his way to go fishing with a friend in Dawlish when he got off the bus in Regent Street, Teignmouth, at around 4.45 pm on April 5, 2021.

He left the other man with a severe eye injury which has effectively left him blind in his right eye. He also had a bruised jaw and bite marks on his face and shoulder.

Phillips, aged 44, of Apple Tree Close, Chudleigh Knighton, denies assault causing grievous bodily harm.

The prosecution say he misread a confrontation that had arisen because a group of youths had hammered on the front door of a nearby resident and then ran off.

The householder had gone to look for them so he could film them and give the footage to police so they could identify the youths, who had been causing similar problems for weeks.

The man caught up with two of the group in Regent Street and was in the middle of an argument with them when the bus carrying Phillips went past and he got off.

Phillips told the court he acted initially to protect the boys from what he saw as bullying and then protected himself from an anticipated attack by the other man, who he described as being angry and aggressive.

He said: 'I got off the bus and he was across the road, still arguing with the kids. I said ‘here, mate, leave them kids alone’ and told him to pick on someone his own size.

'He was going off at me and having a go at me and he took his glasses off. He was really aggressive and shouting at me.

He was very angry. I thought he was going to fight.

'He was shouting and swearing. I think I hit him in the face. Later, he was dancing about with his fists raised and we fell to the ground.

'I was up before he was and I was saying ‘give over’ and ‘leave it out’.

'I did not kick him on the ground. I got up and he got up and I just wanted it to be over.

'He was still angry and aggressive. He was throwing punches and we ended up on the floor again where he grabbed hold of my balls.

'I kept telling him to let go and give over four or five times. He didn’t so I bit his shoulder.

'I did not mean to do it hard, just hard enough to make him let go.

'I told him to stay down. He was still really aggressive so I whacked him to stop him and hit his right cheek.

'I hit him in the eye. I was shocked when I saw what happened and he stopped. I didn’t intend to hurt him and I did feel in danger from him.

The trial continues