A TEENAGE father-of-one was stabbed to death through the heart while helping protect his best friend, a court heard yesterday.

Sean Matson, 20, appeared at Teesside Crown Court charged with murdering Chris Cave, 17, in June.

The court heard that Mr Matson, who denies murder, ran from Mr Cave as he died laughing and saying: "I stabbed him, I stabbed him, good".

Franz Muller, QC, prosecuting, told the jury that an argument between Mr Cave and Mr Matson, both of Redcar, occurred when Mr Matson started throwing stones at the window of Mr Cave's friend, Danny Armstrong, on Burnmoor Close, Redcar, at about 1am on Friday, June 6.

Mr Matson, of Langthwaite Walk, called at the house asking for cannabis.

Mr Armstrong, who said he hardly knew Mr Matson, refused saying he no longer smoked the drug.

The court heard that Mr Matson, who it is alleged had broken Mr Armstrong's window the previous evening, persisted.

They argued outside and the jury was told Mr Matson left and came back minutes later with a large knife.

"Sean Matson was waving the knife and said, 'You're not so hard now are you?' Chris Cave was in a corner kicking at the knife in a vain attempt to defend himself. He was panicking," said Mr Muller.

The court heard Mr Armstrong and other young men, who had seen the argument, made a desperate attempt to save him.

But Mr Cave, who lived with his pregnant girlfriend, Louise Rigby, 18, was pronounced dead at hospital about an hour later.

Mr Matson told police he could remember nothing of the incident and denies intending to seriously hurt Mr Cave.

Both men had been drinking.

The case continues.