Stab accused’s 63 convictions

Victim: Stabbed Damian Taff

Victim: Stabbed Damian Taff

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A MAN accused of knifing a Sheffield dad through the heart admitted to a jury he had 63 previous convictions - including one for stabbing a man over a drugs deal and seven for possessing knives in public.

Benjamin Grant, aged 31, is accused of murdering Damian Taff, 29, outside a drugs den in Swanbourne Road, Parson Cross, Sheffield, after Mr Taff punched him in the face.

Giving evidence at Sheffield Crown Court, Grant admitted he had previous convictions dating back to 1998.

His record includes two charges of possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply and seven of possessing kitchen knives or lock knives.

He also admitted stabbing a man in a dispute over drugs, leaving him with a deep cut and on two occasions carrying knives in a nightclub.

Grant, of Follet Road, Parson Cross, also admitted violent attacks on a PC and a prison officer.

The defendant said he had a crack cocaine habit and the reason he carried a knife was to cut up the drug.

He said: “It’s a hard substance. It comes in rock form. It’s hard to break to smoke it. You have to cut little sections off. I use a knife.”

The prosecution said as he lay wounded in an ambulance Mr Taff told a police officer Grant, whose nickname is Mad B, was his attacker. But Grant told the jury he didn’t know Mr Taff and had never been introduced to him.

Grant said he went to Swanbourne Road to buy drugs in the early hours of September 1 and left armed with a screwdriver because he’d heard someone had been mugging customers for their drugs outside.

He said Mr Taff punched him in the mouth and then lunged forwards and, thinking he was going to stab him, he struck out with the screwdriver and made contact.

Grant denies murder and conspiring to sell Class A drugs.

Co-accused, Ryan Wood, 29, of Liberty Place, Stannington, who denies murder and previously denied conspiring to supply Class A drugs, pleaded guilty yesterday to the drugs charge.

The trial continues.

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