A MAN accused of knifing his best friend after losing a £20 pool bet claimed he acted in self-defence after he was being pummelled on the ground, a court heard.
Jay Shepherd, 49, denied the attempted murder of Lee Scattergood following a row at The West Town Inn in Hayling Island last November.
The defendant told jurors at Portsmouth Crown Court he thought he ‘poked’ his friend in the leg with a seven inch knife he happened to have on him from work earlier in the day.
The ordeal left Mr Scattergood, 48, in an induced coma for three weeks and with life-changing injuries after having most of his lower bowel removed.
Shepherd, who was best friends with the victim since they were 12 years of age, admitted he lashed out at Mr Scattergood after he won the game of pool when Shepherd potted the white and black at the same time.
The defendant also told jurors he was being goaded by his old pal and made to feel ‘uncomfortable’ by his presence in the pub after being confronted about a woman they had both dated.
‘He was confronting me about the lady, saying ‘I’m getting back with her’. I said ‘I don’t care’. I then picked up one of his dogs after it had fallen on the floor and he said ‘what the **** are you doing?’
‘I then swung the first punch - which I shouldn’t have done - and kicked him. We were then fighting before it was broken up and we were told to leave the pub.’
Shepherd then retreated to his home on Park Dean Caravan Park where the pair exchanged a flurry of abusive messages. ‘We were just slagging each other off on our phones – it was all just pointless banter,’ he said.
Shepherd then told the court he made his way back to his local pub - where he used to live and ran the pool team - to apologise to the landlords for the fight earlier.
He denied arranging to meet Mr Scattergood for a fight and said he was trying to make amends with his mate. ‘I tried to apologise but he just called me a ****...so I called him one back. I never said anything about his mum. She was like a mum to me,’ he said.
Describing the moment that left his lifelong friend in a coma, Shepherd said: ‘He was outside the pub and started shouting at me. He then started walking and then running towards me.
‘He started punching me in the face causing me to fall to the floor where he carried on hitting me. I felt pain in my back and my face. He was on top of me hitting me.
‘I felt my work knife in my pocket – which I forgot I had on me. It cut my hand. He was still punching me. I got the knife out of my pocket and thought I poked him in the leg. I might have poked him more than once.
‘I did it because I didn’t think he was going to stop punching me and to get him off.’
His defence barrister, Elisabeth Bussey-Jones, asked Shepherd: ‘Did you want to cause serious injury?’
‘No, I never intended to kill,’ Shepherd replied. ‘I felt sick and didn’t believe what had happened when I found out.’