Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tragedy a 'Terrible Accident' - Accused

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tragedy a 'Terrible Accident' - Accused

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE DICKINSON Reporter katie.dickinson@reachplc.com @KATIEJDICKINSON

MURDER accused Richard Lee has said his "close friend's" death was a "terrible, terrible accident" that will haunt him for the rest of his life - but denies intending to stab him.

The 25-year-old says Ryan Thompson died following a tragic "misunderstanding" when he arrived on the scene of a failed burglary.

I wasn't straight at I know have When Lee became aware of youths pinching motorbikes from a locked garage near his girlfriend's home, he armed himself with a knife and went out bare-chested to confront them.

Richard But, prosecutors claim, even when the would-be thieves fled the scene, intoxicated Lee's anger did not subside.

When Mr Thompson, the owner of the bikes, came on the scene at Gregson Street, in Sacriston, County Durham, there was a confrontation between the two men and Mr Thompson struck out at Lee.

Prosecutors say Lee then chased 25-year-old Mr Thompson down an alley, "jabbing and lunging with the knife" and stabbing him in the chest, causing a fatal wound.

But giving evidence to jurors at Newcastle Crown Court, Lee said he was merely trying to "scare off" Mr Thompson after he arrived on the scene and thought Lee had stolen the bikes.

thinking the time. should but I The defendant claimed a group of men including Lee Thompson got out of a car and started attacking him after "getting the wrong end of the stick".

He said he was waving the knife at them in order to get them to "back off and let me explain", before catching Mr Thompson with a "wild swing".

Lee told the court: "They were under the impression I was pinching the bikes.

"I was being called a dirty f****** thief, I was going to get my head smashed in for something they thought had happened."

Asked by his barrister Chris Henley when he was aware Ryan had been hurt, Lee said: "I seen him clawing at my shoulder and as he was walking back I said to myself I thought the knife must have caught him. …

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