An accused murderer has denied killing a man – and told a jury he had instead heroically pulled the victim out of a burning flat.
Paul Cain, aged 24, is accused of murdering Cy Cooper in a brutal attack before setting fire to his flat in Wincobank, Sheffield.
Cain had allegedly had a row with his victim over the living arrangements of Mr Cooper’s nephew – and then murdered him.
Cain told Sheffield Crown Court he was walking away from his aunt’s house with his cousin Thomas, smoking cannabis, when he saw Mr Cooper’s flat was on fire on July 29 last year.
He said: “I saw a little bit of smoke coming from number nine. We got closer and could see a flickering orange light.
“I banged on the door and got no response but it was open. We saw Cy’s body near the bedroom.
“We went in and I grabbed one of his shoulders and Thomas grabbed another one and we pulled him out.”
Under questioning from defence counsel Andrew Stubbs QC, Cain told the court he also rescued Mr Cooper’s neighbour from a nearby flat.
But he was later arrested on suspicion of murder.
Mr Stubbs asked Cain how he felt about his arrest.
“I was so upset because I was risking my life by pulling these two people out,” Cain said. “I wouldn’t co-operate with the police, I fell to the floor, I said things that I shouldn’t have said if I was sober.”
Cain told the jury that on the day of Mr Cooper’s death, he had bought alcohol for Mr Cooper’s next door neighbour and mowed his aunt’s lawn before his cousin, Thomas, came round.
He said he had drunk brandy and vodka with coke mixer with the neighbour before heading home.
He then went out again to smoke cannabis when he and Thomas came across the fire.
Cain told the jury he only knew Mr Cooper through his next door neighbour.
“I didn’t really know him. If I saw him I just used to say hello,” Cain said.
Mr Stubbs QC asked Cain if he committed the murder: “Did you kill Cy Cooper, Mr Cain?”
He replied: “No sir.”
The court previously heard how Mr Cooper had been ‘repeatedly’ kicked and stamped on and had his throat cut by a sharp object.
His body had ‘no serious injuries’ in relation to the fire.
Cain, of no fixed address, denies murder.
The trial continues.