A FRIEND of a man whose charred remains were found in a blazing car told a murder trial that he did not know he was a cocaine dealer.

Alir Domi said he was also unaware Agim Hoxha, from Southampton, possessed an AK47 rifle.

“It was not the sort of person I knew,” he told the jury at Winchester Crown Court.

They have heard how Hoxha was killed in a flat in Shirley and then driven in his silver Mercedes coupe to Chilworth Drove on the outskirts of Southampton, where the car was set on fire. His body was found after firefighters had been called to tackle the blaze in the early hours of April 10 last year.

Steel erector Mr Domi told the court he had met crane driver Mr Hoxha, 29, through work nearly five years ago. They socialised and played football together.

Asked by prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC about their relationship, the witness replied: “I knew him as a friend. He was a very nice, generous person who was kind to everyone. I didn’t know he sold drugs.”

He said he last saw Mr Hoxha the day before his body was found.

Arben Lleshi, 25, of Onslow Road, Southampton, and Afrim Lleshi, 36, of Shirley Road, Southampton, deny murder.

Arben Lleshi also denies a second charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice by removing Mr Hoxha’s body from the flat, taking it to Chilworth Drove and setting it on fire, as well as cleaning traces of blood in the property.