Stabbing attempted murder accused tells jury he wanted to ‘ping’ love rival off bike in Park Gate attack – not kill him

A SPURNED lover accused of a frenzied stabbing attack on his ex-partner’s new boyfriend has told jurors he wanted to ‘ping him off’ a bike and steal it – not try to murder him.

By Ben Fishwick
Friday, 5th April 2019, 7:15 pm
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 7:22 pm
Stabbing victim Nathan Birch 
Picture: (010419-4521)
Stabbing victim Nathan Birch Picture: (010419-4521)

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Ashley Luff called Nathan Birch’s work at TGI Friday’s twice on August 6 to find out when the 24-year-old finished work - before knocking him off his bike in Southampton Road late at night on August 19.

Jurors were listening to Luff give evidence for a second day at his trial where he is accused of trying to murder Mr Birch after stabbing him 17 times with a knife.

Just over two weeks earlier Luff, of Bedford Drive, Fareham, had seen a Facebook Live stream of Mr Birch kissing Luff’s ex-partner Chantelle Price in the Slug and Lettuce in Fareham.

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Stabbing victim Nathan Birch Picture: (010419-4521)

Under questioning from prosecutor Simon Jones, Luff at first said he wanted to know when Mr Birch finished work so he could ‘talk to him and try and resolve everything’.

But while being asked about why he was wearing gardening gloves at 10.10pm, 32-year-old Luff said he had planned to steal Mr Birch’s bike.

Mr Jones asked: ‘Just to be clear, you wanted gloves to wear so you didn’t leave fingerprints on his bike?’

Restaurant worker Luff replied: ‘Yeah.’

He added: ‘If he was on a bike my intentions were to ping him off and take his bike.’

Earlier this week jurors were told how Mr Birch – who was on the phone to Miss Price at the time of the 90-second attack – suffered 17 separate stab wounds, a damaged spleen and collapsed lung in the attack last year.

‘Why didn’t you steal the bike?’ Mr Jones asked Luff.

The defendant replied: ‘It kind of got heated there - out of control.’

Luff denies attempted murder and an alternative charge of wounding with intent in the incident in Southampton Road, Park Gate.

Mr Jones said: ‘You stabbed him a number of times in the back and neck.’

Luff replied: ‘Not purposefully.’

Mr Jones: ‘What does that mean?

Luff: ‘Like I said, I was catching him with the knife.’

Mr Birch told jurors on Monday how he ran back to his workplace after being stabbed and paramedics were called, who used a needle to re-inflate his lung.

Yesterday Luff said: ‘I didn’t think anything of it at the time.’

Mr Jones asked: ‘Was that because you were a man in a rage with the red mist down, stabbing him? You were so angry in a minute and a half or so that you stabbed and stabbed him weren’t you Mr Luff?’

The defendant said: ‘No.’

Mr Jones said: ‘That you thought nothing of it at the time?

Luff said: ‘No.’

Mr Jones: ‘You didn’t think of serious injury to him?’

Luff: ‘No.’

Mr Jones: ‘You weren’t worried for him?’

Luff: ‘I didn’t think it had cut him that many times with the knife.’

Jurors heard how Luff claims he was acting in self-defence and had told a custody nurse after his arrest he was hit by Mr Birch with a rounders bat that Mr Birch had in a rucksack.

Mr Jones said: ‘He never produced a bat at all, did he?’

Luff, a father, replied: ‘Yes, he did.’

Luff also told jurors the knife cut Mr Birch as ‘I was punching him on the back of the head and back’.

Describing Luff’s version of events as ‘ludicrous’, Mr Jones said: ‘Is it all just falling apart, your account?’

The defendant said: ‘It’s not falling apart.’