A MAN accused of murder has denied stabbing a man to death at a home in Middlesbrough.

Jonathan Porritt, 28, allegedly killed John Lewis, 32, in the evening on May 14 this year.

Appearing at Teesside Crown Court and wearing a grey jumper with a black logo, Porritt pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and one charge of possession of a knife.

His pleas, given via a video link from Durham Prison, were met by cries and gasps from the packed public gallery.

Police were called to the property in Crescent Road – the same street as Porritt’s home – in Middlesbrough shortly after 7.30pm.

Mr Lewis later died at James Cook University Hospital and Cleveland Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct as his death followed police contact.

Porritt, of Crescent Road, Middlesbrough, will face a jury at Teesside Crown Court for his five-day trial on October 28.

Addressing the 28-year-old, Judge Stephen Ashurst said: “In the light of your pleas of not guilty of the allegations of murder and possession of an offensive weapon, the next time you’ll be in court will be before a judge and jury on the 28th October.

“If you are going to admit any involvement in criminal activity the sooner the indications given, the more credit you will be given.”