A murder trial jury has heard how a man accused of knifing his uncle and two cousins in a street fight told police: “I’m not a violent person.”
Kieran Ibitson, 21, said he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, ran for his life and stabbed his uncle John Pickering in self-defence.
He said: “I was not involved intentionally. I was just there.
“I had no intentions of hurting anybody or anybody to get hurt.
“I was in the car. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
‘My head’s totally gone’
He said he was confused, scared, worried and “sick almost” as he went in a car with others expecting a fight between uncle and nephew John and Mark Pickering.
“All sorts was going through my head,” he said.
“When we got there, that’s when my head’s totally gone and I’m like ‘what the hell’. It’s gone too fast.”
He told officers that John Pickering and his sons Lennon Pickering, then 17, and Steven Willis, 27, jumped over a wall and ran towards his group on Meadowcroft Road.
He said Mr Willis, who was fatally stabbed to the heart during the brawl, had a large samurai sword.
‘I tried to defend myself’
Ibitson said he ran down the road fearing for his life, fell and picked up a metal spike from a fence “for self-defence” on the night of April 16.
“I ran back down there. John ran at me and I tried to defend myself,” Ibitson said in his first interview.
“I stabbed him with the fence. I ran away and got in the car.”
He said he “did what he needed to do” in self-defence while others fought in the street, then left “in a bad state”.
He said John Pickering, whom he described as aggressive, had shouted to Mark “I will ****ing kill you”.
He said he had been told John Pickering had “knocked out” his mother and “jumped” Mark Pickering, 32, at a wake at the Teesside Bridge Social Club in North Ormesby earlier that night.
‘I didn’t really have a choice’
He said he “didn’t really have a choice” but to be in the car, but agreed he could have got out and did not know why he went there.
He added: “I probably didn’t really understand the depth of the situation at that time.
“We were all family. I didn’t think it was going to go the way it did.
“It didn’t really cross my mind what was really going to happen.”
He said he was not involved with knives, had no weapons and saw none apart from Mr Willis’ sword.
He said he was “traumatised” after the violence, in which he struggled to identify himself and his co-accused from CCTV footage.
Ibitson denied he or anyone else had a knife to police.
He has now admitted stabbing John Pickering with a “combat-style knife”, wounding him with intent to do serious harm.
But he denies a similar offence for Lennon or killing Mr Willis.
He said Mr Willis chased him with the sword around a car, but denied stabbing him, being present when he was stabbed or knowing who caused the fatal injury.
‘He was like a raving lunatic’
Mark’s brother Dominic Pickering, 23, said they got to the house to see his uncle John topless shouting at Mark: “I’m going to kill you”.
He said John was running towards them: “He was like a raving lunatic.”
He said Steven Willis came out with the sword saying “come on then”, then Mark went around the back of him and “took him down”.
He told officers: “He said ‘take it off him, take it off him’. So I tried to kick it out of his hands.
“The next thing Mark got up with it.”
He said he only fought with Lennon Pickering, did not see Ibitson with a weapon, did not see Mr Willis’ injuries and did not know anyone had been stabbed when he left.
Five Middlesbrough men – Ibitson, of Beresford Crescent, Thorntree; Dominic Pickering, of Grinkle Avenue, Park End; Mark Pickering, of Greenham Close, Thorntree; Jack Cross, 21, of Olney Walk, Park End; and Jahmal Weaver, 22, of Rounton Green, Berwick Hills – deny Mr Willis’ murder and manslaughter. They also deny wounding with intent to cause serious harm.