Sammy Philpott, 37, told jurors at Portsmouth Crown Court he was forced to use ‘self-defence’ against Stanlie Hopkins and his brother-in-law Daniel Forster during a fight in the Red Lion pub car park in Cosham on October 25.
Mr Hopkins, 28, who plays for Moneyfields FC as a defender, was involved in a ruck with Philpott after the pair had a ‘tense’ exchange earlier in the day at a funeral wake at the Conservative Club in Cosham.
Philpott, giving evidence to the court, said he had gone to check on a friend at the wake when ‘Stan pushed me and said “get out the way”’.
After some mourners had attended the Red Lion, Philpott said he drove to the pub car park with another man after being told to go there.
Revealing what was going through his mind as 6ft 7in Mr Hopkins walked up to his car, Philpott said: ‘I thought Stan was coming to speak to me.
‘I couldn’t make out what he was doing. I thought it was a bit strange how he looked at me. He was just pointing.
‘He looked a bit anxious and when he got closer he was being aggressive. He said: “I’m going to get you”.’
Philpott then admitted to getting out of his car with a rubber mallet as the pair scrapped, with the brawl spilling out across the pub car park.
‘It’s no excuse. At the time I was worried about myself. I was trying to protect myself. That’s the truth,’ he said.
He denied the weapon was a metal hammer and said the mallet was used for fishing trips and even had a ‘Thor Hammer’ nickname from his son.
Philpott said he ‘couldn’t remember much’ with his ‘survival instincts’ kicking in during the fight.
During the melee, the defendant then ‘retreated’ to his car as Mr Hopkins and other people marched towards him. ‘I was trying to get away. I was trying to get in the car,’ he said. ‘They were trying to attack me.’
He denied saying to Mr Forster ‘you are going to get it now’ before he stabbed him. ‘That’s definitely not true,’ he said.
Philpott accepted stabbing the men but said he ‘just lashed out to protect myself’ and picked up the knife inside the car door. ‘I did not even know it was in the car,’ he said. ‘I just grabbed it.’
The defendant said he used the knife after he was kicked into the car by Mr Hopkins who was ‘a lot stronger than me’.
Asked if he had any other option but to stab the men, he said: ‘No I didn’t.’
He said he drove away because he was ‘scared and panicky’.
Philpott said he was left with concussion and needed hospital treatment and was left with a disjointed bone on his back.
The epilepsy and PTSD sufferer said he had two seizures before he was subsequently arrested by police.
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Philpott, of Eastern Road, Portsmouth, denies two counts of wounding with intent, two counts of unlawful wounding and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon.