Walsall stabbing accused tells jury he was not responsible for causing youth serious injury

A man accused of stabbing a teenager in an unprovoked attack has told a trial he was carrying a knife, but was not responsible for causing his injuries.

Wolverhampton Crown Court
Wolverhampton Crown Court

Marshall Bennett is accused of causing serious injury by wounding with intent to the 16-year-old victim during a confrontation outside shops near the junction of Caldmore Road and Mount Street, in Caldmore, in Walsall, on February 24 last year.

Giving evidence at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday the defendant told the jury he was in the company of another person, whom he did not know well, and it was that male who exchanged words with the victim moments before the knifing.

He also said someone in the victim's group was holding something "looking like an axe" and "I was scared because it came out of nowhere".

Barnett, who was 18 when the incident happened, told the jury that he was carrying a knife because he himself had been knifed in the back in October 2020 and that he did not want the weapon to be seen at home.

Mr Syam Soni, defending barrister, asked him if he stabbed the victim, if he intended to cause him serious harm and if he helped the other male to attack him. Barnett repeatedly replied: "No." He said he was unaware that the male was carrying a knife and that he did not tell him that he had also got one.

He was asked: "Did you take that knife that morning intending to use it?" Barnett replied: "No. I had it to protect myself."

He told the jury he went to Caldmore where he met a group of three people including the male later involved in the confrontation at about 3.30pm near the Little Caldmore give-way junction.

Barnett said he heard his companion asking the victim “who are you looking at?” and at first he thought they knew each other.

"I thought it was childish. I thought they were friends. It wasn't said in an aggressive manner," said the defendant, of Redhouse Street, Palfrey, Walsall.

He said a fight then started and conceded that he punched the victim in his stomach"in the heat of the moment". He said he thought his companion had been "chopped" and took the knife from his waist to "scare" the group of five boys.

He also said he sustained minor stab wounds in his back when he was knifed by someone he did not know on October 28, 2020. He said the matter was not reported to the police.

The teenage victim was left fighting for his life when he was stabbed during an attack by two strangers during lockdown and spent a total of four weeks in hospital. He suffered wounds to his lung and liver.

Barnett, now 20, denies wounding. The trial continues.

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