Graeme Finlay denies Thomson Celebration cruise attack
A man accused of attacking two frail Middlesbrough pensioners on a holiday cruise told police he acted in self-defence, a court has heard.
Ron Phillips, 70, was repeatedly punched as he took cocoa back to the cabin he shared with his wife June, 68, Teesside Crown Court was told.
The couple were on an all-inclusive cruise off Lanzarote when the alleged attack occurred in January 2014.
Graeme Finlay, 53, from Glasgow, denies unlawful wounding.
The court heard Mr Phillips, who has had a hip replacement, was knocked out during the incident and his wife was later found to have suffered fractured two vertebrae after being shoved against a wall.
Mr Finlay, of Meadowside Quay Walk, told police he hit Mr Phillips in self-defence, but he denied attacking his wife during the cruise on board the Thomson Celebration.
Mr Phillips claimed he was carrying their two mugs of cocoa back to their cabin when he was punched in the corridor. His wife had gone before him and was holding the door open.
He said: "I turned my head to the left and the next thing I knew, I was coming to on the floor with various people around me."
He needed six stitches to a head wound and was treated by the ship's medical staff.
The court heard the couple had been assisted by the crew to get on board the cruise ship as they both had "limited mobility".
Lewis Kerr, prosecuting, said Mrs Phillips had seen her husband being punched several times and that when she went to his aid, she was pushed against a wall leaving her unconscious.
Mr Kerr said after the attack, the crew found blood stains in Mr Finlay's cabin and he was "disembarked" from the cruise.
Mr Finlay, who also denies causing grievous bodily harm, was questioned by police in the UK and said there had been an argument that night, and accepted he hit Mr Phillips, but did not accept causing the injury to Mrs Phillips.
The trial continues.