Manchester - A youth accused of murdering a privately-educated teenager broke down in tears yesterday as he claimed he did not realise he had stabbed his friend through the heart.
The defendant, known as Boy A, is on trial over the death of Yousef Makki, a pupil at Manchester Grammar School who wanted to be a heart surgeon.
The pair, both 17, were friends but fell out over a failed attempt to rob a drug dealer in which Boy A was beaten up, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Boy A said he and Yousef exchanged words before he pushed Yousef, who retaliated by punching him in the head and pulling out a knife.
Boy A, also privately-educated and from a wealthy family, told the court his memory of what happened during the confrontation in the Cheshire village of Hale Barns was "not very clear at all". But he recalled: "It looked like he was going to hit me again. He was saying 'come on, come on'." At this point the defendant had to pause and wiped his eyes with a tissue. "I didn’t want to get beaten up again, so I was quite on edge at this time, so I’ve started to take the knife out of my pocket," he said.
Boy A insisted his intention was "to warn him (Yousef) off, to get him to leave me alone". He said: "I’m disorientated at the time, so I can’t remember exactly what happened.
"Yousef laughed a bit, I got more annoyed, I brought (the knife) out in steam.
"I don’t really know what I did. I just lifted my arm up. I didn’t realise anything had happened at first. Yousef took a step back. I thought he’d seen me do this and backed off." Boy A said he only realised he had stabbed his friend when Yousef – who had a five-inch wound through the heart – cried out, saying "You’ve stabbed me".
Boy A added: "At that point, I went into a bit of a panic."
He initially "did not believe" Yousef and he told the court: "I thought I’d cut his shoulder or something like that. I didn’t feel any kind of resistance."
The fight came after a dispute involving a third youth, Boy B, with whom they had planned to rob a drug dealer of £45 of cannabis.
The robbery attempt ended unsuccessfully and Boy A, also 17, was beaten up by the drug dealers’ associates after Boy B and Yousef backed out.
Boy A admitted feeling "angry" after Boy B cycled off and Yousef "stood back". The boys met up an hour later, leading to clash in which Yousef was stabbed.
Boy A said he initially walked off, thinking he had "scared him (Yousef) a bit and we’d sorted it for the night" but he returned after he saw Boy B laying Yousef down on the ground.
He said he initially stood "flailing around" in the road before taking his top off so he could use it to help stem the bleeding. Passers-by and emergency services eventually arrived to help.
Boy A admits perverting the course of justice by lying to police but denies murder and conspiracy to rob.
Boy B, also 17, denies conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.