A man accused of murdering Mark Noke said he made a "silly choice" when he agreed to a robbery because he needed a "cot, toys and clothes" for his son. 

Bradley O'Dell told a jury that he was "in a bit of debt" when Keiran Claffy and Leighton Tabone knocked on his window and asked him to steal cash and drugs with them. 

The now 22-year-old said he had been taking drugs at Justin Roach's home in Steep Close when he first heard about the planned burglary. 

But it wasn't until later that evening when he got home and was drinking in his bedroom that he got the offer to be involved. 

Daily Echo: Mark NokeMark Noke (Image: Hampshire Police)

He told Winchester Crown Court: "I could have done with the money at the time.

"I needed to pay my debts off. I needed a cot, toys, clothes for my son. I needed the money. 

"I agreed. I made a silly choice and I went out that night.

"I got in the car. We drove towards Thornhill."

O'Dell said the plan was to "take the door off and everyone needs to search a room". 

When they arrived, he said Claffey and Tabone went ahead while Roach "was getting pizza boxes and a helmet out". 

Daily Echo: Police at Thornhill after Mark Noke's deathPolice at Thornhill after Mark Noke's death (Image: NQ)

The jury previously heard how Mr Noke died from a stab wound when five masked men went to his flat by mistake during a plot to steal cannabis and £30,000 in cash. 

Roach, giving evidence this week, denied any involvement and claimed he was at home taking drugs instead. 

When asked about dressing up as a pizza delivery person in order to gain access to the block, he said this was not true. 

O'Dell of West Park Road; Keiran Claffey, 29, of Keynsham Road; Aaron Morgan, 32, of Bursledon Road; Justin Roach, 40, of Chapel Road and Leighton Tabone, 24, of no fixed address, deny murder and manslaughter.

Morgan, O’Dell, Roach and Tabone deny conspiracy to rob.

Claffey has already pleaded guilty to this charge.


O'Dell told the jury that he was not aware of a knife on the night of February 24, 2023, adding: "I would have not have gone out that night.

"I don't hang around with people that have a knife."

He added that he did not know about an imitation firearm and would not have gone if he knew. 

The jury heard how O'Dell's brother died in 2018 and that he was seeing a psychiatrist from the age of 11. 

He said he was "bad on drugs for quite a few years" but had recently gone to Southampton charity No Limits for help as he "needed to sort [his] life out".

He added: "I was hanging around with the wrong people."

The trial continues.