A WITNESS has recalled seeing a large scale fight on the night his friend was stabbed to death.

Grant Byrom, 30, was knifed in the chest in Forest Road, Colchester, on Boxing Day 1998, later dying in hospital.

Michael Donnelly, 73, denies murder and is standing trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Nathan Rock was a young player on the same football team as Grant Byrom and had played with him on Boxing Day 1998 before he was fatefully stabbed.

He said he had known Mr Byrom for several years as he was friendly with his mother and that he would often pop round to their house.

Mr Rock had been invited to a party in Forest Road, Colchester, that night at what was later confirmed as Michael Donnelly’s house - the man accused of murdering Mr Byrom.

READ MORE: Live updates from court from day three of the Grant Byrom murder trial

After chatting to an old friend about his travels to Australia, Mr Rock said Mr Byrom and Donnelly were shouting at each other in the garden.

He then became unsighted but heard a fight further up the street.

Mr Rock told the court: “I heard shouting.

“I could not pinpoint who was shouting.

“After a while I went out to see what was going on.

“I could see a dispute further up the road.

“There is a bus stop, further up there is a turning.

“It was there beyond the bus stop.”

Mr Rock told added he was “quite a long way” from what was happening.

He said: “I hung back because I was quite young at the time and these were grown men - I didn’t want to get involved.”

“I can’t tell you how long it was - two, three, five minutes.”

Mr Rock said he rejoined the party but left soon afterwards and saw a police car as he walked home.

Mark Graffius QC, representing Donnelly, questioned whether Mr Rock could be sure his client was involved in the fracas.

He said he would stick by what he said in his statement just days after the fight when he said Donnelly, Byrom and several others had been involved.

Donnelly, 73, of Bromley Road, Colchester denies murder.

n The trial continues.