EMOTIONS ran high as a man accused of bludgeoning his friend to death with a claw hammer took to the witness stand for the first time during his trial.

There were screams from the packed public gallery as Daniel Dodsworth described the moments leading up to the attack, in which he is alleged to have murdered his friend, 25-year-old Alan Youngson.

Mr Dodsworth, 29, has confessed to beating Mr Youngson to death in the dining room of his home in Branksome Green, Darlington, in August last year. But he denies murder, claiming he acted in self-defence.

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Giving evidence on the first day of the defence case at Teesside Crown Court, a visibly emotional Mr Dodsworth told the jury how he became petrified when he realised his friend was dead.

“I just remember looking on the walls – there was blood all over the wall,” he said.

“I looked on the floor, he was in a puddle of blood – he was white.

“I knew he was dead then. I couldn’t believe what had happened. I couldn’t believe he was dead.”

The defendant told the jury how the pair had spent the evening of August 15 together drinking Frosty Jack’s cider at his house when Mr Youngson began acting strange.

He said Mr Youngson, who is originally from Scotland, began making derogatory comments about the English and throwing drinks on the floor.

After accusing him of sleeping with his ex-girlfriend, the defendant said Mr Youngson then picked up a kitchen knife and threatened to kill him with it.

Mr Dodsworth said: “He grabbed hold of us and flung us into a chair.

“I asked him are you joking? He said 'I am not joking'. He said 'do you think I am a f*****g idiot, do you think I am stupid?'”

He said he believed Mr Youngson was going to kill him.

“I was crying. I was trying to talk him out of it. I said I have just had a son,” said Mr Dodsworth.

“He put the knife against my throat at one point.”

Mr Dodsworth said he grabbed the hammer from a nearby worktop and hit his friend over the head after he became distracted by something outside.

The jury heard he put the body in a stolen wheelie bin and buried it in woodland near Jedburgh Drive, in the Branksome area of Darlington.

Mr Dodsworth denies murder but admits preventing Mr Youngson’s lawful burial.

The trial continues.