Murder trial man ‘lashed out’ in fear

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a MAN who denies murder told jurors he ‘lashed out’ in fear for his life after been attacked while having a haircut.

James Knowles, aged 22, is accused of killing Mubarak Ali by knifing him in the chest on Mount Pleasant Road, Highfield.

But Knowles, who claims he was acting in self-defence, told Sheffield Crown Court he was suddenly hit on the head in Swarv barber’s shop on Abbeydale Road.

He ran to the back of the shop but a man there was ‘trying to stab’ him through a metal gate and then several men hit him with a stick and kicked him, he told jurors.

Knowles, of Deer Park Road, Stannington, added: “They were grabbing me and saying they’re going to kill me, ‘You’re going to die’, smashing my head in. I was saying, ‘What have I done wrong?’.”

Knowles said Mubarak Ali, 23, of Broomhall, was one of the men. And he claimed that, after they left the shop, Mr Ali followed him to his car.

Knowles said: “He was saying he was going to shoot me, saying I’m a dead man and saying, ‘Where’s your car? I’m taking your car’.

“I was scared. I was scared for my life.”

The court heard that when Knowles got to his car, Mr Ali came towards him with a knife and ‘tried stabbing’ him. In a struggle Knowles - who was stabbed two years previously - retrieved the blade.

He said: “I was struggling with him trying to get off me, and I was just scared, I didn’t know whether he was going to get the knife back or pull out a gun.

“He must have grabbed me, I grabbed him, he pulled me. I must have just lashed out because I was scared and I wanted to get away.”

Defence barrister Abbas Lakha QC asked: “Did you ever intend to kill or hurt him?”

Knowles wiped his eye and replied: “No. I never meant to do it.”

Knowles claimed to have heard Mr Ali was a ‘dangerous man’ but said he was ‘upset’ to learn he had later died.

In cross-examination he claimed he knew of no reason for the attack on him.

The trial continues.