A SOLDIER accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend told a court she stabbed herself in the neck, as she lunged at him with a carving knife at the same moment he tried to disarm her.

Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon described a lengthy struggle through Alice Ruggles' Gateshead flat in October, that ended with her bleeding to death and him "panicking" rather than ringing 999.

The 26-year-old, a signaller with the 2 Scots, is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court and denies murdering his ex after he turned up at her home despite her getting an official police warning telling him to stay away.

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Dhillon said he climbed into her ground-floor flat through a bedroom window before he saw Miss Ruggles in the living room and that she had grabbed a carving knife.

The Edinburgh-based soldier, who had recently gone through a course in Hereford to join the special forces, said he managed to get her in a headlock and pushed her through the kitchen and into the bathroom.

His intention was to lock her in and run away, he told the court.

Miss Ruggles, who was 24, from Leicestershire and worked for Sky in Newcastle, dropped the knife and fell unconscious on the floor, Dhillon said.

She later regain consciousness, he said, and she asked: "Is this really happening?"

He told the jury: "My reply was 'I don't know, please don't speak'."

Later, as they sat in the bathroom, Dhillon claims Miss Ruggles became "infuriated" when he told her he was going to see another woman.

The jury has heard he tried to set up a date as he waited outside Miss Ruggles' flat before she came home that evening.

Dhillon claimed she picked up the knife again but he managed to stop her stabbing him.

He said the knife scratched her neck as he elbowed her to the head.

Miss Ruggles ended up beneath the basin as he sat on the toilet, he said, before she came at him again. "She was moving forwards and I was moving towards her," he said.

"I moved forward to deflect her arm."

Dhillon said the knife entered her neck from right to left. He said: "I remember saying 'Alice' and she fell on her right side."

The India-born soldier said the knife was stuck in her neck, so he tried to pull it out.

"I definitely felt the bone connect on the knife," he said. "I tried to move it a bit.

"It wouldn't just come out straight away, and then I pulled it out."

Dhillon said he then considered stabbing himself in the chest.

Jamie Hill QC, defending, asked why he did not call 999 on her mobile.

Dhillon said: "I don't know, I panicked at the time.

"I didn't know how to react to the situation."

He remembered saying her name and her not replying but he saw her leg twitch.

Asked again why he did not summon the emergency services, Dhillon said: "If I am honest, I initially wanted to get out of the situation. I panicked and I ran away."

He said he got in his car and took the Coldstream route to Edinburgh as he considered "driving off one of these back roads, off the hill".

The jury has heard he was arrested after he got back to barracks.

The trial continues on Friday morning.