A DRUG dealer who stole from a rival was later stabbed to death in an alleyway, a court heard today.

The trial began today of Zandrae Smith, accused of the murder of Londoner Tommy Ferris, who was found in an alleyway off Smannell Road on April 13 this year.

The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard how Mr Ferris, known to drug users as Jason, was part of a drug dealing network called Jamie, in Andover, and how the defendant Mr Smith, was a dealer for a rival gang called Brian.

Prosecuting Simon Jones laid out to the court in his opening speech today how the pair ended up in an altercation in the alleyway at around 1am, which was said to be Mr Ferris’ “patch”, after the 28-year-old had earlier stolen Mr Smith’s phone, money and “shots” he was dealing, and they had parted ways.

Mr Jones said: “Mr Ferris and the defendant parted company and significantly, walked away from each other to opposite ends of the alleyway.

“What happened should have been over. The prosecution says the defendant took matters further. Armed with a knife, he returned to attack Mr Ferris, stabbing and killing him.

“The defendant was attempting to retrieve his belongings from his body as CPR was being conducted.”

Mr Smith was said to have fled the scene to an address in Caesar Close before he left the area and went to Bradford, where he was arrested at 3.20am on April 16.

Mr Ferris was pronounced dead in hospital at 2.20am, and pathologist Dr Basil Purdue found his four stab wounds ranged from 7cm to 18.5cm deep.

The court heard the murder weapon has not been recovered, but a 33cm knife case was among Mr Smith’s possessions seized by police.

A smaller knife believed to belong to Mr Ferris was found at the scene.

Both the prosecution and defence barrister Ali Bajwa agree that Mr Smith, of Octavia Court, Bradford, did stab Mr Ferris, however the prosecution say he stabbed Mr Ferris “out of revenge”, while the defence argue it was in self-defence.

Mr Jones added: “It was a stabbing through a desire to recover items incredibly valuable to a dealer. This was an unlawful killing.

“Whatever had happened, what the defendant did was he took the law into his own hands and he murdered Mr Ferris.”

Mr Bajwa QC, addressing the jury after the prosecution’s claim, said: “What really matters is those few minutes, it might boil down to just a few seconds.

“Mr Ferris and the defendant Mr Smith came together, how and why they came together might be one of the matters in dispute, we will explore that from the evidence of the witnesses as we hear it.

“Within the seconds that follow, 10, 20, 60 seconds, Mr Ferris was fatally stabbed. A key issue we heard already is why that stabbing took place.

“The defence say it was an act of self-defence.”

Mr Bajwa also advised the jury despite feelings of prejudice that can arise from hearing about drug dealing, knife carrying, and fatal stabbings, the case must be judged by the evidence put forward.

The trial continues.