A MOTHER-OF-THREE claimed her long-term partner was so terrified of a York man the couple moved to Selby for several years to get away from him, a court heard.

Victoria Freeman alleged that Matthew Carney was scared of “repercussions” after he was acquitted in 2002 of murdering Michael Brolly.

Mr Carney always denied involvement in the death.

The jury in the trial of four people in connection with an alleged attack on Mr Carney has heard that shortly after he returned to York in 2016, he was found spread-eagled in a dark isolated layby, unconscious and so badly injured that a paramedic had him taken straight to Leeds General Hospital where a trauma and resuscitation team met the ambulance.

In a statement read to the jury, Louis Randall-Pringle told how he spotted Mr Carney in his headlights lying unconscious as he was driving down an unlit track between Burnholme Drive, Tang Hall and some allotments at 11pm on August 12, 2016.

He said: “I heard the sound of laboured breath. I heard a gurgling and a noise as if he was struggling for breath.”

Two of Mr Brolly’s nephews, Paul Michael Rishworth, 31, of no fixed address and Mr Carney’s workmate in 2016, Kieran Kevin Harris, 22, of Bell Farm Avenue, York, are standing trial accused of conspiring with Scott Lewis Hurst, 29, and Keeley Ann Hurst, 23, both of James Street Caravan Site, York, to cause Mr Carney grievous bodily harm, which all four deny.

Rishworth and the two Hursts also deny attempting to murder Mr Carney.

Mr Carney’s mother Christine Winspear alleged he changed after the 2002 court case.

“He wasn’t Matt,” she claimed. “He had panic attacks and was insecure.

“He was a nervous wreck because he had been wrongly accused of something he hadn’t done.”

Ms Freeman alleged at Leeds Crown Court that while the couple still lived in York in 2004, she was in their flat when she heard Rishworth using a hammer to smash the windows of a car outside where Mr Carney and their little daughter were waiting for her.

In a separate incident the previous year, she had seen Rishworth walking towards her and Mr Carney along Lucas Avenue, Clifton.

Rishworth had taken something out of his pocket which looked like a ball in a sock but didn’t use it, she claimed.

She alleged that Mr Carney didn’t want to come back to York after the murder case, but she had persuaded him to because her family was in York, and that after the second incident, the couple moved to Selby.

“It was a fresh start, away from everyone,” she claimed at Leeds Crown Court. “We were able to live a normal life.”

The trial continues.