A TEENAGER who killed a homeless man with a single stab wound has told a jury that he was defending himself and feared for his life.
Brian Jewell said he was being attacked with a broken bottle by 45-year-old Stephen Cook when he pulled a knife from his pocket to try to get him to back off.
He said he had not intended to hurt him and did not know he had even stabbed him during the fight outside the Betfred shop in Exeter’s Sidwell Street in January this year.
He said he did not retreat because his eyes were glued to the broken bottle which he Cook was swinging at him and he was trying to avoid or fend off.
Jewell, aged 19, suffered a slash to his face which needed 23 stitches and lost a tooth after being hit in the face with the bottle.
He said he was defending himself and was in fear for his life when he pulled an 8.5 centimetre folding knife from his pocket and opened it. He had got a friend to buy the knife for him the previous day for £10 from a camping shop.
Both Jewell and Mr Cook were homeless and the fight started after an argument between Mr Cook and a man and a woman which turned violent. Jewell became involved and had two fights with Mr Cook.
The entire incident was caught on CCTV which showed the first one in the doorway of Betfred and the second one outside. Mr Cook was shown staggering into the shop and collapsing on the floor.
A friend lent him a phone so he could make a final call to his grown up daughter before he lost consciousness. He died as a result of a wound which penetrated seven to 10 centimetres into his body and cut his heart.
Jewell, aged 19, previously of Verney Street, Exeter, but now of no fixed address, denies murder and manslaughter in a trial at Exeter Crown Court.
He said he got into the first fight with Mr Cook after seeing him hitting a woman but they had been pulled apart before he saw Mr Cook smashing a bottle on the ground and advancing towards him.
He said: ' heard Cook say he was going to jail for this and he came towards me. I did not think about using the knife at the time. I thought he was about to attack me with the bottle and I was scared.
'He started swinging it towards my face. I was frightened for my life and pulled the knife out of my pocket to defend myself. I was worried he was going to kill me. He said he’d ****ing kill me.
'I thought about running away but my eyes were glued to the bottle. I could not take my eyes off it. I didn’t say anything about having a knife because I did not think it would have any effect.
'I just thought that if he attacked me with that bottle I could have died. I think I opened the knife as I took it out of my pocket. I did not lock it. I did not realise it had a locking mechanism.
'He swung at me four or five times. I tried to duck or block it with my left hand. I felt the bottle hit my face once, it might have been more. I thrust the knife towards him hoping he would back off.
'I was not aiming at any particular part of his body. I did not know I hit him with the knife. I did not know I had stabbed him although there was a possibility. I swung the knife once or twice.
'I can’t remember it in any detail. It was a very fast sequence of events. I hoped he would back off. I wasn’t trying to hurt him badly or to kill him.'
The trial continues