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Published on 14 January 2005
A MAN accused of stabbing his best friend has admitted he must have done so but said he could not remember doing it.
James Butler, 21, accepted that he must have stabbed Stephen Brown, whom he had known all his life, while giving evidence in his trial at Norwich Crown Court.
Butler is charged with unlawfully wounding Mr Brown with intent to do him grievous bodily harm on July 23, 2004. He denies the charge.
The incident happened during an evening fishing trip to Paddy’s Pit at Barway near Ely.
He told the court he and Mr Brown had been “play-fighting” and “messing about” but stopped as soon as Mr Brown said “Oh, I’ve been stabbed”.
Butler said: “I thought he was joking; he looked down at his chest, saw a trickle of blood and ran.”
Defence barrister, Jonathan Seely asked Butler if he remembered picking up his multi-purpose tool.
Butler replied: “No.”
He then asked Butler if he remembered having the knife in his hand at the time of the attack but Butler said he could not remember.
Butler said he did not deliberately stab or intend to seriously harm Mr Brown.
Charles Kellett, prosecuting, asked Butler why Mr Brown had not suffered any other scratches and marks if the knife had been in his hand throughout the play fight. Butler repeated he could not remember having the knife in his hand.
“Mr Kellett then asked Butler if he was told not to drink with the anti-depressants he had been taking since he was 18.”
On Wednesday the court heard Butler had drunk three-quarters of a bottle of vodka on the night of the incident.
Butler denied during cross examination that he had been angry with Mr Brown after he intervened to stop an argument with his girlfriend, Stephanie Lynham.
The woman who answered her door to a bleeding Mr Brown also gave evidence.
Amanda Dyer told the court that when she opened her door at 9.15pm that evening she thought the bare-chested young man and two girls were playing about until she noticed the blood.
She called an ambulance, got a towel to stop the blood and waited outside with the group for the emergency services.
Mr Brown’s girlfriend told the court via a video link about an argument that night between Butler and his girlfriend.
The trial continues.