A JURY has retired to begin deliberating a verdict in the trial of a drug dealer accused of the murder of a rival.

Members of the jury in the trial of Zandrae Smith retired at around 11.15am today, after hearing Judge Keith Cutler’s summary of evidence, and closing statements from both the prosecution and defence yesterday.

The trial of murder accused Mr Smith, of Octavia Court, Bradford, began on Monday last week in relation to an incident in an alleyway off Smannell Road which resulted in the death of 28-year-old Londoner Tommy Ferris on April 13.

Mr Smith admits to stabbing and killing Mr Ferris, but maintains he acted in self-defence.

Prosecuting, Simon Jones told the jury this was a case of revenge.

He said: “This is a case of the defendant Zandrae Smith who thinks he’s rather proud of himself on the inroads he was successfully making within the Andover drug dealing market.

“Tommy Ferris threatened that success, we have got to consider what impact did that have on the defendant in those moments in the alley when he took the life of someone, that he accepts.

“Four stab wounds to the depth that they are.”

The court heard in evidence since the trial began October 22 that the then 20-year-old from Bermuda had been robbed by Mr Ferris of his iPhone, gold chain, money and drugs, in an alleyway in Smannell Road, as he was dealing drugs to customers which was said to be on the patch of Mr Ferris, part of the ‘Jamie network’ of dealers.

The two then separated before the defendant “jogged” back up to his rival, he says asking to get his phone back, before they began to fight.

Both were believed to be carrying knives that night.

Mr Jones added: “This wasn’t a man to just roll over, told to jog on, he wasn’t going to do that. He was a Brian [drug dealing network] representative. He was doing well with street cred, he wasn’t going to let a Jamie drug dealer mug him off and get away with it.

“This man that was caught cold then dusts himself down and sets about revenge.

“Self defence has no place in this case, you can be sure Zandrae Smith was not acting in self defence.”

Defending, Ali Bajwa however argued Mr Smith acted in self-defence in the incident which could be boiled down to a few moments.

Mr Bajwa said: “It all boils down to the one word, revenge.

“On behalf of Zandrae Smith we say that theory of the case is far too simplistic. It is contradicted we say by evidence and by reason.

“Is it realistic in response to be robbed of money and drugs that were not his, the gold chain and phone that was his, that Zandrae Smith is going to say 'I’m going to stab and take the life of a complete stranger and in the process effectively throw away my own life'?

“If Zandrae Smith did go back to Tommy Ferris as an act of revenge, when Tommy Ferris fell to the ground, nobody suggests he did anything to him. While he was on the ground, in an act of revenge, quite a significant thing could have been done if he was lying on the ground.

“What he did was run away at that moment Tommy Ferris had fallen to the ground, the threat was over, no need any longer for self defence.

“It might be a handful of seconds. It really comes down to what happens when he [Mr Smith] reached Tommy Ferris.

“He deserves a very long sentence for drug dealing, he deserves an additional sentence for carrying a knife, but does he deserve you to deliver a verdict of murder?”

The trial continues.