Birmingham & Black Country

Yardley Wood neighbour stabbed after fight in autistic boy's room

Reece Hipwood Image copyright West Midlands Police/Family handout
Image caption Reece Hipwood died from his stab injuries following a row with his next door neighbour

The girlfriend of a man accused of murdering their next door neighbour told how she tried to protect her autistic son as the men fought in the youngster's bedroom, a court heard.

John Nixon, 54, is accused of fatally stabbing Reece Hipwood, 28, in Yardley Wood - yards from the youngster - after an argument in the early hours of 15 July, 2018.

Leigh-Anna Hunt told how she grabbed the knife from the men's hands.

Mr Nixon, a mechanic, denies murder.

Giving evidence Ms Hunt told how an argument broke out when Mr Hipwood accused the defendant of being "a drunk" and "no role model for your son" while the pair drank beer and vodka in the kitchen in Sandmere Road, the hearing was told.

Ms Hunt - the partner of Mr Nixon for 18-years - told Birmingham Crown Court: "The escalation of the fight was a complete shock."

Her partner was hit in the face before the men fought upstairs in the 11-year-old's bedroom and on the landing, the hearing was told.

"I could see John coming up the stairs he was dripping with blood," said Ms Hunt.

"I was trying to get my son out of the way as quick as I could. They were next to me fighting."

Ms Hunt told the hearing she got her son and dog on top of the bunkbed. The men then moved to the landing, but the boy's door had been removed due to renovation.

She told how she did not see a kitchen knife until the men were back on the landing.

Image caption The men argued before a fatal fight broke out in Mr Nixon's home on Sandmere Road

Ms Hunt said: "They both had their hands on the knife. I think John was over-gripping Reece's hand. I tried to peel their hands off to break the grip."

She added: "I pulled the blade and threw it behind me into my bedroom.

"John just looked blank. There was no emotion."

Mr Hipwood suffered multiple stab injuries at 1.40 BST and died later in hospital. Mr Nixon suffered a severe injury to his thigh and a broken jaw.

Ms Hunt said the men would regularly socialise and had "a great relationship".

The case continues.

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