I WAS the peacemaker.”

That was the claim by one of the three defendants accused of taking part in the horrific Southampton flat murder of Jamie Dack.

Andrew Dwyer-Skeats told the jury of eight women and four men how he had applied a tourniquet to the victim’s leg after he had been stabbed – but insisted he was not there when the fatal injuries were inflicted on the 23-year-old.

He told Winchester Crown Court he witnessed Jamie being beaten with a baseball bat as he stood by the door of the Bevois Mews squat where he was being held and allegedly tortured.

Under cross-examination from prosecutor Jonathan Fuller, he added that he even told killer Lee Nicholls, who was convicted at a previous trial of killing Jamie, that he should not tie him up.

He told the court: “I raised the topic of letting him go. It was me who cut him loose... It was all wrong.”

Dwyer-Skeats said that out of kindness he had given Jamie water and he had reassured him he would be all right, adding that he “felt sorry for him.”

Describing how he was “shocked and disgusted” at what had happened, he told the court he left the one-bed property and returned 20 minutes later to find a murder had been committed.

Referring to an alibi that he had been outside speaking to a friend, Mr Fuller asked: “Why didn’t you say something to get yourself out of difficulty? You had all the cards. You had a strong hand. Why did you not make the effort to play them?”

Dwyer-Skeats answered: “Panic. I didn’t know what to do.”

Jamie’s body was discovered on Easter Sunday last year, having been torched in an industrial bin in Empress Road, Southampton. He died from a knife wound to the neck but had sustained multiple injuries to his body.

Dwyer-Skeats, 26, and Donna Chalk, 21, both of Bevois Mews, and Ryan Woodmansey, 33, of no fixed abode, deny murder but have admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Nicholls, 30, is awaiting sentence after admitting murder at a previous hearing.