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Teenager Nelson Smith, accused of double murder at West Meadows travellers' site, gives his account of stabbings to Old Bailey jury

PUBLISHED: 14:02 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:48 14 June 2017

A heavy police presence at the gate of the West Meadows travellers' site after the alleged murders. Picture: CONTRIB

A heavy police presence at the gate of the West Meadows travellers' site after the alleged murders. Picture: CONTRIB

Archant

A teenager who killed two fellow travellers in a turf war over a caravan pitch told a court: "I have never been more sorry."

Nelson Smith, 18, stabbed Nathan Oakley, 18, and Barry Street, 32, to death with a carving knife during a brawl at the West Meadows Traveller Site in Ipswich.

Smith claims he grabbed the weapon and attacked the two men to stop them viciously beating his father Nelson Smith Senior on 8 December 2016, the Old Bailey heard.

The teenager said he had been making tea in his grandmother’s trailer when he heard Street, a convicted armed robber, threaten to shoot his father during a dispute over the pitch.

Oakley, and his brother Ernest Oakley then began to assault Mr Smith Snr with a metal pole, an axe, and a catapult.

Smith said he panicked and grabbed the first thing he could.

“It turned out to be a kitchen knife,” he said.

“I tried to stop the men from attacking my father, obviously because I’m not going to hit a woman, I shouted ‘stop’ to the men, they didn’t listen.

“To be quite honest I did get hit in the back of the head, so that’s when I drew the knife from the back of my pocket.

“Being quite close to my dad, obviously I wanted to stop any further damage being caused to him so I grabbed the first person I could see and lunged forward.

“That turned out to be Nathan, unfortunately.”

Anthony Trollope QC, defending, asked: “Were you aware at the time how many times you stabbed him?”

Smith replied: “Roughly a couple of times.”

Mr Trollope continued: “What was your intention when you stabbed him?”

The teenager said: “Just to stop him from what he was doing.”

Asked if he intended to kill him, Smith said: “No, of course not, of course not. I have never been more sorry about stabbing Nathan.

“I just intended to stop him.”

Smith, a father-of-one, had earlier told the court he used to listen to music with Oakley, adding: “I thought he was quite a nice young boy, I considered him a friend.”

Jurors heard Smith grabbed Street and stabbed him repeatedly from behind after he had fatally wounded Oakley.

“I was trying to pull his vest and his vest started stretching,” said Smith.

“The man wasn’t listening to me trying to shout at him to stop so I stabbed him to stop him.”

Smith fled through a field at the back of the site before dumping the knife and his blood-soaked jumper in some woodlands.

He was arrested on Paper Mill Lane later that day.

When Mr Trollope asked if he expected Oakley and Smith to die, Smith replied: “No definitely not. That’s definitely not the result I wanted.

“From what I was concerned they were liveable, wounds.

“When I was 13 I had been stabbed and I lived on. I’m here today.

“To be quite honest I wouldn’t wish death upon anyone, and in this case especially not Nathan.”

Street, who was jailed for 14 years in 2006 for armed robbery, posted a picture of himself meeting former heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury two weeks before his death.

Smith, formerly of the West Meadows Traveller Site, denies two counts of murder and one of having an article with a blade or point.

The trial continues.

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