Homeless man had 'no option' but to use knife, court hears

Ipswich Crown Court

Lewis Marsh is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A homeless man has told a jury he had "no option" but to use a knife on a man he believed was trying to kill him. 

Lewis Marsh, 32, who is standing trial for two charges of wounding Carl Mowles with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, said he did not want violence to escalate and was trying to leave. 

The court previously heard that Marsh and Mr Mowles both had a criminal history and had met in prison.

On January 7 last year, the pair had met in Gippeswyk Park in Ipswich and sat on a bench chatting and talking about old times. 

Marsh was homeless and Mr Mowles had invited him back to his flat in Crocus Close for some food. 

Giving evidence on Wednesday, January 26, Marsh told the jury he had poured himself and Mr Mowles two vodka and cokes, and the pair sat drinking in the living room of the flat. 

Marsh said at one point Mr Mowles stood on an ashtray and then threw it against the wall. 

Marsh said he then went to leave the flat but Mr Mowles stood in his way near the doorway, and put his hand on his shoulder to try to get him to move. 

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The pair started "wrestling" and a fight ensued, Marsh told the jury. 

He then ended up on the floor and tried to make a run for the door but couldn't get past, and was stabbed in the cheek, the jury heard. 

Marsh said he then managed to push Mr Mowles off and get into the corridor but wasn't able to open the front door. 

Marsh then managed to get the knife from Mr Mowles and had it in his right hand, the jury heard. 

Mr Mowles then put both hands around the neck of Marsh and pinned him against the wall, Marsh told the jury. 

Marsh said: "I thought he was trying to kill me. I wanted to get him off me. I had no option but to use it."

Jerry Hayes, prosecuting, previously told the court that while they were at the flat, Mr Mowles noticed that Marsh had knocked over a tin containing cigarette ash and asked him to clear it up.

Marsh appeared to be ignoring him and after asking him to leave Mr Mowles had taken hold of Marsh by his jacket.

Marsh had then lashed out at him with his fists and after hearing a “clinking” sound Mr Mowles saw Marsh pick up something silver which he assumed was a blade.

Mr Hayes said Mr Mowles had then felt a rush of blood as he was allegedly stabbed in the cheek.

Marsh had then smashed a bottle of vodka on the floor before pulling Mr Mowles’ hood over his head and stabbing him under the chin close to his windpipe. 

Marsh, of no fixed address, denies the charges. 

The trial continues.