A teenager has denied murdering a drug dealing grandfather who he claims was a father figure to him, following an argument in his crack den.

The 17-year-old picked up a homemade ‘slam-gun’ and started pointing at people when he became incensed when some of his illicit prescription drugs went missing.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Alan Garbutt died from a single gunshot wound to the chest after he was fatally injured in his Guisborough flat in the early hours of August 8 last year.

Giving evidence, the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, maintained that the weapon went off accidentally.

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His barrister, Peter Makepeace KC, took him through the hours leading up to the grandfather’s death as his client continued to tell jurors what happened in the drugs den following the row.

He said he couldn't find his pregabalin drugs and was 'fuming' with people in the flat before 'Al G' offered him some more drugs as he was starting to get a bit paranoid and accepted that he doesn't have a clear memory of what happened on the night as he was on drugs.

The Northern Echo: Alan GarbuttAlan Garbutt

Jurors heard how he picked the 'slam-gun' up off the floor to mess about with it. He said: "I didn't think it was risk. I didn't think it was a working item and didn't know it had a bullet in."

Mr Makepeace asked: "Did you know if it could be loaded or if that particular one worked?" He replied: "No."

"When you picked it up did you think it would go off?" - he asks. The teenager replied: "No, I was just messing about."

He added: "It just went off and I panicked. I was just messing about with it - I don't know. I just pointed it and it went off."

The teenager denied intending to hurt Mr Garbutt. He said: "Why would I do that? He was looking after me."

Under cross-examination from Peter Glenser KC, prosecuting, the teenager described Mr Garbutt as a father figure, but accepts that he would deal drugs for him while acting as an enforcer to recover debts from customers.

The Northern Echo: Police at the scene of the alleged murder at Helmsley House, Guisborough.Police at the scene of the alleged murder at Helmsley House, Guisborough.

The teenager said the shooting was an accident that happened when he was 'high’ after taking cocaine, cannabis, and a cocktail of different prescription drugs.

He said there was a bad atmosphere in the flat because some of his drugs had gone missing, adding 'there's always a bad atmosphere - it was a crack house'.

The jury heard how he picked up the 'pipe' and it went off.

Mr Glenser said: "You shot him because your drugs weren't there."

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He replied: "No, it just went off. I was messing around. I was just pointing it and it just went off."

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard how several people were in Mr Garbutt’s flat in Helmsley House, Guisborough, at the time of the alleged murder and CCTV from inside the building showed them all leaving the scene.

The court had heard how the teenager had been living in Mr Garbutt’s flat for several months before the fatal incident.

He denies murder and the trial continues.