THE uncle of an alleged killer said the murdered pensioner was 'not a very nice person'.

Mark Mason is accused of assisting an offender by driving his nephew, Adam Mason, away from Vines Lane following the alleged murder of 80-year-old Desmond Wooding.

Adam Mason, 33, of Plough Lane, Tibberton, denies stabbing his great uncle, Mr Wooding, 11 times in the lounge of the pensioner's bungalow after drinking in the nearby Gardeners Arms pub. Mark Mason, 55, also of Plough Lane, Tibberton, accepts giving Adam Mason a lift from Vines Lane on June 23 last year, the day of the murder, after receiving a phone call from him.

However, he denies any knowledge of the murder or that he advised Adam Mason to get rid of his clothes and to 'act normally'. Mark Mason said of Mr Wooding: "He was very arrogant. He was not a very nice person to speak to so I didn't speak to him. I had nothing to do with him."

The prosecution case is that the Mason family hated Mr Wooding because of the way he had treated his late wife Maureen when she had cancer.

Mr Wooding's late wife was the sister of Adam Mason's grandfather, Colin Mason, and the aunt of his co-defendant, Mark Mason. The jury heard that when Colin Mason learned of Mr Wooding's murder he laughed and said: "It couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke."

Cross-examined by Adrian Keeling QC, prosecuting, Mark Mason, Colin's son, said: "That was his opinion and his opinion only." It was put to him that he shared his family's feeling towards Desmond Wooding but he answered: "It wasn't my business. It was nothing to do with me."

Mr Keeling said Maureen stayed with the Mason family when she was undergoing treatment for cancer having fallen out with her husband, Mr Wooding. Mark Mason said: "I didn't know she fell out with her husband. I thought she was recovering from cancer and that's why she was there."

Mr Keeling put it to Mark Mason that it was 'unusual' for Adam Mason to call him for a lift and had not done so in the previous six months but the defendant disagreed, pointing out that his nephew had recently asked him for a lift to the airport.

Mr Keeling said when Mark Mason received a call from Adam Mason at 9.15pm on June 23 he left in his truck within five minutes, which he called 'pretty much immediately'.

The defendant said: "I would not call that rushing."

Mr Keeling said: "Didn't he call you because he told you what he had just done?" Mason replied 'no'. The barrister put it to him that his nephew had called him to get advice and assistance. Again Mark Mason answered 'no'.

The defendants say they took their dogs for a run at Crutch Lane after Adam Mason was picked up, a place they accepted neither of them had been before. Mr Keeling asked why they had not taken the dogs for a walk in Vines Park, near where Adam had been picked up. Mark Mason said he had already decided to take the dogs to that place and dogs would have to stay on their leads at Vines Park. Mark Mason denied advising Adam Mason to get rid of his clothes, go on holiday and 'act normally' or helping to get rid of a knife, asking why the ground near Crutch Lane had not been searched by police.

The trial continues.