A MAN accused of murder took to the witness stand yesterday to give his account of the events that led to the death of a Londoner.

Zandrae Smith told Winchester Crown Court “it breaks his heart” to know he stabbed and killed rival drug dealer Tommy Ferris on April 13 in an alleyway, in actions he has maintained were in self defence.

A fight took place between the defendant and the 28-year-old in an alley off Smannell Road at around 1am, after Mr Ferris had confronted Mr Smith and robbed him of his iPhone, gold chain, money and drugs, which the 21-year-old Mr Smith claimed in court yesterday was at knifepoint – the first time the claim has been made during the trial.

Mr Smith said: “The first thing I saw was a knife as he was coming towards me.

“He told me to empty your pockets. He was telling me to hurry up before he stabs me. I started to give him a bit more.

“He said ‘if you are lying I’m going to stab you’.”

Once he had been robbed, Mr Smith told the jury he asked for his phone back three or four times from Mr Ferris, who was part of the ‘Jamie' drug dealing network, who told him ‘no’ and walked off.

Mr Smith, of Octavia Court, Bradford, then described how he was also carrying a knife that night “to protect himself”, as he had done around five times while he had been dealing drugs in Andover in the preceding two-week period.

During the robbery, the knife was kept between his three layers of trousers but he said did not pull it out at that point.

He said: “I started to jog towards him pulling out my knife. I brought it out just in case anything would happen. To protect myself.

“I didn’t plan to inflict any punishment on him, I just wanted my phone back.

“I said ‘give me my phone back’. And then he lunged towards me, towards my neck and chest area in a stabbing motion with his right hand. I stabbed forward in a jabbing motion.”

Mr Smith told the court he believed Mr Ferris sliced his neck during the fight, as possibly the first blow, but that the fight happened so quickly, a lot of it he cannot remember as he was “scared and panicking.”

Mr Smith, who moved to the UK from Bermuda searching for work in September 2017, said he acted in self-defence, was scared and that he “thought I was going to die” during the clash which he said lasted no longer than 60 seconds.

An autopsy of Mr Ferris found four stab wounds inflicted, the principle injury to his right-side upper chest, and three others to his right-side upper back, shoulder and arm.

Mr Smith said he could recall inflicting the first injury to the chest but does not know how the other three wounds were specifically sustained, continuing to say it all happened so fast, and that the pair were so close to each other and that he “closed his eyes for a bit”.

Prosecutor Simon Jones said he did not believe Mr Ferris hurt Mr Smith at all, and that the robbery had humiliated the defendant in front of customers so he decided to take his revenge.

He asked why he did not tell police in his interviews about his neck injury adding: “You are lying about the cut to your neck.

“You want the jury to be hoodwinked into thinking Tommy Ferris aggressively attacked you. It is the only explanation that gets you out of murder. It is an explanation you failed to give the police.

“Do you want to come clean?”

Mr Smith denied all of the prosecution’s claims and said the reason he gave no comment to the police was because he was advised to do so.

The court also heard how Mr Ferris dropped a knife at some point during the fight, the weapon being discovered at the scene later by police.

Mr Jones argued from the movements the pair made during the fight in the alley, the position of the knife meant it appeared to have been dropped at the beginning of the fight.

He added: “It is entirely possible you were stabbing an unarmed man.

“You were stabbing an unarmed man throughout this incident. He dropped the knife the moment you stabbed him in the back.

“You carried on stabbing him until you murdered him didn’t you?”

Mr Smith denied the claim.

The trial continues.