THE man accused of washing and hiding an axe used in a murder has told jurors his friend cleaned it.
Neal Stacey is accused of perverting the course of justice by cleaning and hiding an axe Brendon Willis used to murder 27-year-old Christopher Butler at Waverley Road on December 31.
Giving evidence on the fifth day of his trial at Winchester Crown Court, Stacey, 49, told jurors Willis had whispered to him that he had ‘done Chris’ and had a ‘silly grin’ but that Stacey did not believe him.
Stacey said he, Yasmin McCue and Willis, 33, went back to his home in Waverley Road Southsea, and took heroin before Willis pulled the axe from under his clothes.
Giving evidence, Stacey said he grabbed the axe from Willis with both hands and put it in the sink and at the same time moved to stand between him and the weapon.
He said he started washing blood from his hands.
Stacey told the jury: ‘He’s still in the doorway and once I’ve cleaned my hands Yasmin started cleaning the axe.
‘There was a cloth, I didn’t know if it was a proper flannel or a cloth, there was a flannel and cloths there, I didn’t pay much attention, this was all literally in a split second from me dropping it and washing my hands.
‘By the time I’m half-way through washing my hands she’s washing the axe – well she’s rinsing it.’
He said Miss McCue left and he opened the door to see her coming back up the stairs.
Stacey added: ‘She said “I hid the axe”. I said “it’s not in my garden is it?”. She said ‘no it’s further down”.’
Asked by Miss Bagley why he asked that, Stacey added: ‘Just in case there’s any truth in what he said.’
Stacey also told how Willis was ‘going a bit weird’ due to his reaction but Stacey still did not believe he had killed anyone at the time.
Stacey, who said he had been a heroin addict since 1997 but was clean before moving to Waverley Road, said his memory was bad, adding: ‘I was smashed to pieces. It had been a long week, a lot of drink and drugs.’
He added Willis was talking to people outside Kwiki-Mart in Albert Road, Southsea, when they returned to a begging spot in the early hours of January 1.
Willis, formerly of Waverley Road, has admitted murder. Stacey denies perverting the course of justice.