A DEFENDANT says he went into “panic mode” and feared for his life before the man he is accused of murdering was stabbed.

Charlie Cooper told Winchester Crown Court he was acting in self-defence as he thought he was about to be stabbed himself.

The 19-year-old, of Ashby Road, Totton, and his 26-year-old brother Sidney, of no fixed abode, are on trial accused of murdering 26-year-old Courtney Jones.

Cooper told the court he didn’t have a knife with him on August 25, the day the fight broke out in Salisbury Road, Totton.

He said he had been waiting on his own for his brother outside another address in Salisbury Road when Mr Jones, of Deerlands Avenue, Sheffield, came out aggressively, hiding a knife.

The pair were fighting before Sidney come out and pulled Mr Jones off. Charlie said he then kicked and punched Mr Jones a number of times, but said it was because he didn’t want Mr Jones to get up and stab him.

Charlie also said he had been pulled away from the fight by his sister, Anna, and after checking himself for wounds saw Sidney stab Mr Jones, a known drug dealer, just once.

He denied stamping and smashing a brick into Mr Jones’ head, as well as saying “I told you not to **** around with us”.

However, prosecutor Adam Feest QC put it to Charlie that he was lying. Mr Feest questioned why he had told the court he did not see Sidney cutting away Mr Jones’ bag when he had said he did in his police statement, to which he said he “must have been in a panic at the time”. He added: “I can’t specifically say I saw him cut off he bag.”

It was then put to Charlie that he and his brother had conversions about robbing Mr Jones, and that was their reason for attacking him, but Charlie denied that conversation had taken place.

As previous reported, the prosecution argues both brothers carried out a “frenzied” attack on their victim before he was fatally stabbed by Sidney at least twice.

Both deny murder. The trial continues.