Chichester man 'didn't mean to kill teenager with knife'
A man accused of murder said he was acting in self defence when he stabbed to death a teenager in Chichester in a row over drugs.
Samuel Morgan, 19, told a court he was only using a kitchen knife against Luke Jeffrey to stop the 18-year-old from attacking him when he inflicted the fatal injury on March 11.
Mr Jeffrey, of Linden Road, Bognor Regis, died the following morning of his injury in hospital.
Giving evidence at Hove Crown Court on Monday, August 15, Morgan, of Adelaide Road, Chichester, told how he had sent his friend Bradley Murphy to deliver Â£40 of MDMA to Mr Jeffrey in an alleyway between Alexandra Road and Lewis Road.
He said he only attended the scene when he received a call from Mr Murphy to say there was a dispute over a Â£20 non-payment, and after hearing Mr Jeffrey 'screaming and shouting' in the background, he picked up a kitchen knife in a 'moment of panic' because he was worried others there may also have been carrying weapons.
Morgan said: "I walked up to Brad and Luke and as I got there I pulled up my top and said I had a knife and basically said 'where's my money, bruv?'"He said I don't owe you any money. I replied yes you do.
"He said something like 'you mugged me off', and I said 'no you ticked some weed and didn't pay'."Morgan said Mr Jeffrey then attempted to walk away and Mr Murphy shouted 'you think you're big just 'cos you've got guns, as in muscles', and the two began physically fighting.Morgan told the court he then picked up Mr Murphy's phone which had fallen on the floor and tried to separate the two, at which point Mr Jeffrey 'came towards me and was really angry'."I was moving backwards, I pulled the knife out and held it towards him," Morgan said.
"He carried on coming towards me even though I was holding the knife towards him."I started jabbing towards him to keep him away from me.
"When I jabbed towards him the knife went up in my hand and it felt like I punched him."I carried on trying to back away from him, I'm edging back but still he's coming and getting angrier and angrier."He sort of lurched towards me to try to grab or punch me, I'm not sure.
"I was jabbing and my phone's fallen out of my pocket and when I looked back up I saw blood on the knife."I didn't actually know it went in but when I looked at the knife it had blood all over it and when I saw that I looked up and saw blood all over him."When asked under cross examination if he meant to stab Mr Jeffrey in the shoulder, or cause really serious injury or kill him, Morgan replied: "No, I just wanted him to stay away from me really. He could have seriously hurt me, he could have grabbed the knife off me, anything could have happened."
Morgan said Mr Jeffrey then screamed 'I'm going to kill you', before initially chasing him as he ran off.
He described how he disposed of the bloody knife in a gutter by garages before going to a family member's house.
He said it was only the next day that he was told Mr Jeffrey had died and then handed himself into the police.
When asked why he had taken a knife with him that night, Morgan said: "I was worried. He's two times the size of me, he's huge."
He said he had tried and failed to find a plank of wood for protection, so took a knife from his kitchen because he had heard some of the people Mr Jeffrey associated himself with sometimes carried knives."I went into panic, I didn't know what to do so I grabbed a knife, it was a spare of the moment thought," Morgan said.
Morgan told the court the dispute had arisen from an incident several weeks before, when he had given Mr Jeffrey an 'empty wrap' of cannabis in exchange for Â£20.
After handing himself in, he later instructed solicitors to tell police where to find the knife and officers located it.
The jury is expected to be sent out to consider its verdict tomorrow morning.