Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I'd Known Him for Years but I Didn't Recognise Him as He Lay Dying; Friend Tells of Discovering Injured Man after Pub Night

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I'd Known Him for Years but I Didn't Recognise Him as He Lay Dying; Friend Tells of Discovering Injured Man after Pub Night

Article excerpt

Byline: SOPHIE DOUGHTY Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk @Sophie_Doughty

A FRIEND of alleged murder victim Ashley Cochrane has revealed how he comforted his dying pal, without realising who he was.

The 29-year-old was pronounced dead in hospital on New Year's Day after being found fatally injured at a hostel in Byker, Newcastle, during the early hours. Today Bobby Martin, who had known Ashley for seven years, told how he desperately tried to save a man he discovered clinging to life in a room at the building.

But, heartbreakingly, Ashley was unrecognisable due to his injuries, so Bobby had no idea the person he was comforting was not a stranger, but his beloved friend.

He said: "I can't get the image out of my head. I didn't know it was Ashley until later when the police told me. I was with him so close to the end but I didn't know."

Bobby, 52, has lived in the Catherine House hostel, on Shields Road, for around 10 years and works as a barman.

He met Ashley after moving to Tyneside from Liverpool. The pair hit it off instantly. Bobby took his younger pal under his wing and would always look out for him. Ashley had also lived in Catherine House for a short time in the room next to Bobby.

"I have known Ashley for just over seven years. He was a good lad. He liked a drink, but he wouldn't say boo to a goose," said Bobby. "He was just a fun, likeable lad."

On New Year's Eve Bobby was asked to run a karaoke, quiz and disco at the Lord Clyde pub, next door to Catherine House, and he invited Ashley to come along.

"He was in good spirits," said Bobby. "He came in and bought me a drink, and I bought him one. He had already been in one or two bars on Shields Road. He looked shattered. It was a brilliant atmosphere in the pub, everyone enjoying their New Year's Eve."

When Ashley fell asleep in the pub he was told to leave, said Bobby. So Ashley asked if he could go to Bobby's room in Catherine House until his friend finished working. …

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