A man accused of strangling an elderly widow with a mower cord on a north London allotment has told jurors he had gone there to buy opium.
Rahim Mohammadi is accused of beating up Lea Adri-Soejoko in Colindale, then throttling her to stop her reporting him.
It is alleged Mohammadi wanted Mrs Adri-Soejoko to retire as secretary of the allotments so he could take over.
The 41-year-old, from Hackney, denies murder.
The body of Mrs Adri-Soejoko, 80, was found in a shed after she failed to turn up to a meeting on 27 February 2017.
Tensions had flared at an AGM four months before when Mrs Adri-Soejoko told him to "shut up" in a discussion over the enforcement of notices to leave, the prosecution said.
He is said to have called her a "little witch" as he walked out.
Giving evidence, Mohammadi said he felt "embarrassed" about calling her names and later apologised over tea in his shed.
He said: "Towards the end of the meeting I stand up and say, 'bye bye little witch' because she used to call me 'little puppy'.
"I wanted to apologise first because I was embarrassed really because I had said 'shut up' in front of a few people. It was not nice."
On February 25, two days before she was found, Mohammadi said he met a man on the allotment who offered to sell him £200 of opium for his bad back.
'Gave him coffee'
On the day of Mrs Adri-Soejoko's death, Mohammadi said he had gone to her house to collect a key to the main gate.
She gave him coffee and asked his advice about carpeting her stairs because the boards were slippery, he said.
Later, he said he returned a tape measure to Mrs Adri-Soejoko.
During the day, the defendant said he made three trips away from the allotment to buy tobacco, water and opium and heard someone shouting but carried on.
He said: "I just said to myself now they are drunk and they are fighting each other."
The trial, at the Old Bailey, continues.