A man accused of stabbing a chef following a dispute over change has claimed that the knife was pulled out on him.

Jaypal Khaira, 33, told Southampton Crown Court that he did not have a knife, and that he was put in a headlock by Austin Whithorne, the chef at Jerk Pan in Commercial Road.

He claims he was backed into the corner and was being strangled from behind when he saw the chef pull out a knife in his other hand.

Mr Whithorne suffered a stab wound to his inner thigh during the struggle and was taken to hospital. 

But Khaira, of The Polygon, Southampton denies wounding with intent, adding that he never had the knife and never stabbed anyone. 

READ MORE: Man stabbed chef after row at Southampton restaurant, jury told

He told the jury: "He was pushing me and then he put me in a headlock.

"I was saying what are you doing, get off me. I was pushing him back at this point.

"He was shouting and he was prodding me. He grabbed me from the front. He had me in a chokehold from behind.

"He was strangling me from behind. I saw a knife come out from his other hand.

"I tried getting him off me. I managed to squeeze out of it and kind of like pull him and that is when Chini (the manager) entered."

The incident took place on April 13, 2022, following a disagreement over change. 

Daily Echo: Jerk Pan, Commercial Road, SouthamptonJerk Pan, Commercial Road, Southampton (Image: Google Maps)

In CCTV shown to the court, Khaira could be seen arguing with staff before walking outside onto the street. 

Prosecuting, Andrew Houston accused him of being in "such a rage that [he] couldn't pay any attention to what was going on".

But Khaira claims he was just annoyed. 

He was then seen entering the kitchen from a rear door, at which point he and Mr Whithorne disappear off camera. 

The next person to appear was the chef, limping due to the injury to his leg. 

But Khaira, who is related to the owner of Jerk Pan, told the court that he only entered the kitchen to ask if his food was ready, adding "I always used to go and pick it up".

"He was telling me to get out but I literally had just walked in to see if my food was ready.

"He seemed annoyed but I don’t know why."

Khaira was then joined by his father and the owner of the Carribean restaurant and is seen to pick up another knife, but he said this was because he "was trying to explain that Austin had pulled out a knife".

"I believed that was the knife he had pulled out."

Khaira was arrested at a nearby Premier store, also owned by a family member and answered no comment in interview. 

He said this was on the instructions of his lawyer. 

The trial continues.