One of the men accused of killing a Southampton man during a savage beating has 138 previous convictions, a court heard.
Lee Nicolls has been to prison 22 times for an array of offences, Winchester Crown Court was told.
Nicholls, 28, is the first of the four accused of the murder of Jamie Dack to take the stand as the defence case opened at Winchester Crown Court.
The attack happened on the evening of Thursday April 5, in a one-bedroom flat used as a squat in Bevois Mews, Southampton.
Nicholls described how he could be violent and suffers mood swings and gets wound up when he hears of girls being abused and sex offenders, saying “they deserve to be punished” and adding that he would seriously hurt but never kill someone like that.
Taking the stand in his own defence, he described how he suffered from ADHD and was also taking medication to help him sleep because he was suffering nightmares and waking up in sweats after the death of Jamie Dack.
Nicholls told how he was adopted at the age of three and spent his school years mostly playing truant, doing “really badly”
and leaving with no qualifications.
Aged 15 he was taken in to care after making false allegations against the woman who adopted him, accusing her of giving him a black eye and threatening to kill him, for which she was arrested.
But he returned to live with the couple until three weeks before his 18th birthday, when, having become involved in supplying drugs, his father was punched by a dealer looking for him over an unpaid debt.
Nicholls said that he held down a handful of jobs briefly, at a shop in WestQuay and at The Bugle pub in Hamble, but became bored quickly and either quit or was sacked. From the age of 18 he was homeless, sleeping wherever he could, in between time spent in prison.
Nicholls,Andrew Dwyer-Skeats, 26, Donna Chalk, 21, both of Bevois Mews and Ryan Woodmansey, 32, of no fixed address, all deny murder.
All four now admit perverting the course of justice after Chalk changed her plea to guilty yesterday on the basis she cleaned the alleged murder scene.