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Leroy James murder accused: "I must have stabbed him by accident"
A teenager accused of knifing a schoolboy to death wept in court as he insisted: “I must have stabbed him by accident”.
The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he only picked up the blade for “protection” moments before striking a fatal blow on Leroy James, 14, who died in Ponders End Recreation ground on August 18 last year.
He said he was expecting an onslaught from Leroy James, 14, and his gang after they confronted him and accused him of “chatting s***”. He said he had declined the gang's offer of a fight and they were heading out of the park until one of his companions beckoned them back.
Leroy and the teenager clashed in the gym area of the park – a selection of exercise equipment arranged in the shape of the London 2012 Olympic logo.
He told jurors at the Old Bailey on Thursday: “I still didn't want to fight. I was moving back and trying not to retaliate because I didn't want to fight. Then, after, he went to charge towards me.
“He grabbed my T-shirt and hit the back of my head. I wanted to ward him off to stop him hitting me. I must have stabbed him by accident. In the heart, innit.”
He claimed the weapon was not the four-inch blade police recovered from a spot on his route home, but a smaller two-inch knife he had picked up in the park while looking for a broken bottle.
The court heard his BlackBerry mobile phone had been taken from him weeks earlier in a robbery. He had posted messages about Leroy on Facebook in the weeks leading up to the killing, including one claiming the victim was going to get “f***ed up like he's dead”.
The teenager fled the scene immediately after the stabbing and headed for a friend's house, where he confessed to the killing, jurors have been told.
Leroy, a pupil at Aylward Academy in Windmill Road, Edmonton, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene, despite the efforts of an air ambulance crew. A post-mortem gave the cause of death as a single stab wound to the heart.
His attacker is said to have harboured 'ill feeling' towards Leroy and the 'N9 guys' - a reference to the postcode area including Lower Edmonton.
Jurors have been played a shocking 15-second clip of the killing, in which Leroy can be seen falling to the floor in the footage, amid shouts of “You've bored him”.
Prosecutors allege he boasted about the blade used in the killing, which they claim he had christened his pet 'alligator'.
The 15-year-old denies murder and possessing an offensive weapon.
The trial continues.