North Walsham murder trial: Accused says stabbed man looked possessed

image captionThomas Moore was pronounced dead at the scene on Bacton Road

A man accused of stabbing someone to death over a £10 debt has told a jury the victim looked "possessed".

Matthew Constantinou is accused of the murder of Thomas Moore, 42, in North Walsham, Norfolk last October.

Giving evidence, the defendant said he feared he or his mother would be "seriously injured" in a "tug of war" over a baseball bat.

Mr Constantinou, 42, of Antingham Drive, denies murdering Mr Moore.

The jury at Norwich Crown Court heard the defendant did not know Mr Moore, but he did know his friend Ricky Marshall "reasonably well".

Prosecutors allege that on 2 October "the mood had soured somewhat" between Mr Marshall and Mr Constantinou over a £10 debt.

The court heard Mr Marshall said via text that he would speak to the defendant's mother, to which Mr Constantinou responded: "I'll gut you".

The defendant told the court it was an "extremely poor choice of words - a figure of speech, just a deterrent not to come round".

'She was obviously panicked'

Mr Constantinou said later that night he heard "raised voices" on his road and a man shouting something which sounded like "get all the money".

He said his mother said she would call police to which the response was "call them, see how long they take to get here".

"I could hear her voice, she was obviously panicked", he told jurors.

He said there were two men and one of them "made a lunge for the side door and grabbed an item from just inside the garage door".

He said he then heard a man say he was "going to cut you up, cut your mum up".

Mr Constantinou told jurors: "I thought I'd try to scare them away and get them as far away from my mum as possible."

He picked up a baseball bat and was swinging it "just to scare", he told the court, before aiming it at Mr Moore's hand after seeing what he believed to be a screwdriver.

The defendant said Mr Moore looked "like a man possessed", with "wide eyes" and they were then in a "tug of war" over the bat.

Mr Constantinou said he then saw a knife drop and at this point he felt "panicked" and "grabbed it".

"Did you have any sense the knife was close to or touching Mr Moore?," said Ms Marsh.

"No I didn't."

He added: "I seriously thought I was going to be seriously injured and or my mother would be seriously injured or both."

Mr Constantinou said he did not intend to harm Mr Moore.

The trial continues.

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