A MAN standing trial for murder has claimed ­­­­‘I was fighting for my life’ following a fatal knife fight in Chester-le-Street.

Alan Stokoe died after he was stabbed in the neck by Mohammed Rahman, 43, when the two men fought in Melville Street, Chester-le-Street.

Mr Rahman, of Eamont Gardens, Hartlepool, denies murder and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

This morning he told the court: “Looking at the CCTV you can tell it was self-defence. ­­­­I was fighting for my life that night.

“I didn’t want to use the knife, I had no intentions of using it and didn’t want to engage with him.”

Mr Rahman sobbed in court telling jurors Mr Stokoe banged on his windows and threatened to kill his children two months prior to the incident.

The court heard that Mr Stokoe arrived in Melville Street at about 2am on July 21, 2019 with a knife in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.

CCTV saw Mr Stokoe walk towards his ex-partner's house with the knife but backed off and walked down the street.

Shortly after, the footage shows Mr Rahman - who was staying at the house at the time - emerge from the property with a large kitchen knife but he shrugs and disappears inside.

When Mr Stokoe returns, the defendant reappears and the two men engage in what the prosecutor described as a “flurry of blows”.

Mr Rahman said he was frightened and brought the knife outside out of fear.

He said: "I came out with the knife to arm myself. He said he was in the street and I thought that if I had a knife it would stop him from engaging with me. That was the best case scenario."

Earlier in the trial, the jury was shown body-worn camera footage from officers called to the scene in which Mr Rahman is heard explaining that he was acting in self-defence.

In the footage Mr Rahman says to the officers: “Silly f***** just came at me with a knife.”

The jury was also shown graphic footage of the fight between the two men which ended with Mr Stokoe leaning on a car before collapsing in the road.

The Northern Echo:

During the time of the attack, Mr Rahman had been involved in an on-off relationship with a woman called Laura McGee, who lived in Melville Street.

Although he lived in London, he was staying with Miss McGee in Chester-le-Street in the early hours of July 21.

The court heard Mr Stokoe had also been in a relationship with Miss McGee which had been “stormy and difficult”.

Jamie Hill QC, prosecuting, said there was no doubt that Mr Stokoe had been “abusive and threatening” to Miss McGee at times and that she had “responded in kind”.

The trial continues.