James Brindley murder trial: Teen claims stabbing was 'an accident', court hears
A teenager accused of murdering fitness instructor James Brindley has denied he targeted his victim with the initial intention of robbing him.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told a jury that Mr Brindley was the aggressor, grabbing his jacket and 'running' at him during a confrontation in Aldridge.
Giving evidence at Birmingham Crown Court, he claimed he pulled out a knife only to scare him off after an initial tussle and that he had 'accidentally' stabbed him when Mr Brindley advanced on him.
The youth and co-accused Aaron Kahrod, 21, both deny murdering Mr Brindley near the entrance of The Croft park on June 24 last year.
The younger defendant also denied lying about the events of that night after he was covertly recorded in custody saying: "If we both say the truth, we're both going to get done."
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Quizzed about what he meant by the remark by prosecutor Jonas Hankin, QC, he said: "At the time, I thought self-defence was murder."
Asked why he thought his co-accused would be affected, he said: "Because he was there, in the same situation as me."
Mr Hankin inquired why he had not mentioned Mr Brindley 'running at' him in his defence statement. "I'm not sure," he replied.
The jury heard that a jacket worn by the teenager that night and found dumped in a bin yards from the scene had a surgical mask in the pocket. Asked what it was for, the youth said he carried if for 'fashion' reasons.
The teen confirmed that Mr Brindley had not brandished a weapon and had not hit or punched him. But he claimed he was frightened by his victim's 'athletic' physical presence.
Asked why he had not run away, he said:"Because I thought he would chase me. I thought if he chased me I'd be in a much more vulnerable position, with my back to him."
He added he disposed of the jacket because it was badly torn with the padding coming loose, and he did not want Mr Brindley to be able to trace him by following a 'trail' of padding.
Mr Hankin told him: "You know perfectly well that both of you had committed a crime, that both of you were responsible for the attack on Mr Brindley and that both of you bore responsibility for his death."
The teenager said 'no' after each statement.
Mr Brindley, who was on his way home after meeting friends at The Avion pub, staggered back towards the High Street where he collapsed. The 26-year-old was pronounced dead just after 1am despite medics' attempts to save him.
The court heard that Kahrod will not be giving evidence, concluding the defence case. On Monday the jury are due to hear closing arguments from each side.