A man accused of murder said if the knife he was carrying killed Steven Willis it was “simply out of lawful self-defence”.

The trial of five men alleged to have killed 27-year-old Mr Willis in Normanby, Middlesbrough, entered its 10th day on Tuesday.

Kieran Ibitson – Mr Willis’ cousin – was the first defendant to give evidence in person after the prosecution case concluded.

Ibitson has admitted stabbing his uncle John Pickering – who is Mr Willis’ dad – but denies murdering Mr Willis.

Steven John Willis, the 27-year-old man who died following an incident in Meadowcroft Road
Steven Willis, the 27-year-old man who died following an incident in Meadowcroft Road

He told Teesside Crown Court he had “no intentions of using a knife” when he travelled to a family confrontation after a wake in North Ormesby, where Mr Willis was killed.

He says he had a reasonable relationship with Mr Willis and the alleged victim’s half-brother Lennon Pickering and there was no animosity with them, “none whatsoever”.

But he said he became “angry and upset” after hearing that John Pickering had hit Ibitson’s mum Susan at the wake, and took the knife with him to the confrontation at John Pickering’s home in Meadowcroft Road.

He described seeing Mr Willis running towards him, wielding a samurai sword above his head, after a fight broke out at the property.

He said he feared for his life and was slashed to the back with the sword.

“I think he tried to chop my head off and he slices the sword and smashes the rear window of the car,” he told the court.

Ibitson said he intended to hurt John Pickering, but did not intend to hurt Steven Willis.

He said: “If it’s proved that the knife I used has caused fatal injury to Steven Willis, it’s simply out of lawful self-defence and when I was under attack by a samurai sword.

Incident happened on Skippers Lane in Normanby
Police activity on the night Steven Willis died (Image: Terry Blackburn)

“The full time, I was trying to get away. I was trying to run away.”

Ibitson said he did not remember saying “I’ve stabbed him” about John Pickering, but accepts he did.

He denied stabbing or injuring Lennon Pickering: “No I did not. I’m not guilty of such an offence.”

The 21-year-old former Ormesby School pupil said he had taken cocaine and drank about six pints of Coors Light and two single measures of Jack Daniels and coke at the family wake held before the dispute.

At the time of stabbing John Pickering, Ibitson says he was five out of 10 on a scale of drunkenness.

Ibitson says he acquired a knife from a friend two to three months before the incident in an exchange for some cannabis.

He says he got the knife “out of curiosity”.

“I’m not sure. I wasn’t thinking about it,” he says of his interest in the weapon.

He says he kept it under his bed as his parents would not have let him keep it.

Incident happened on Skippers Lane in Normanby
Forensics officers on Meadowcroft Road after Steven Willis died (Image: Terry Blackburn)

It came with the sheath later recovered from the crime scene.

He admitted to later lying to police, claiming he used a piece of fence to injure John Pickering.

Earlier on Tuesday, forensic scientist Sharon Doole, who works in analysis of body fluid staining and interpretation of DNA, also gave evidence.

She told the jury that: “It is my opinion the scientific findings are in-keeping with the view that this knife was used to stab Steven Willis and John Pickering.”

Ibitson will continue giving evidence at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday.

Dominic Pickering, 23, of Grinkle Avenue, Park End; his brother Mark Pickering, 32, of Greenham Close, Thorntree; Cross, 21, of Olney Walk, Park End; Weaver, 22, of Rounton Green, Berwick Hills; and Ibitson, 21, of Beresford Crescent, Thorntree. All deny the murder and manslaughter of Mr Willis.

They also deny charges of wounding with intent to cause serious harm, though Ibitson has admitted the serious assault against his uncle, John Pickering.

Proceeding.

© 2018 Tees Info

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