A MAN on trial for murder has told jurors he regrets naming a dead friend as his accomplice.
Prosecutors claim Jess Ryan had his brother Jack with him when he stabbed George “Geordie” Dagg to death outside his Plains Farm home in June.
During the initial investigation, Ryan denied it was his brother who was with him but refused to say who was.
Just before his trial got under way at Newcastle Crown Court, Jess Ryan named his accomplice as John Sumner, a friend of his who has since died.
But during his evidence from the witness box he now claims he had a man identified only as “Mr X” with him that night and says threats have been made which prevent him revealing his name.
Jess Ryan told jurors yesterday he thought Mr Sumner would not have minded having the finger of blame pointed at him as he was a “good friend”.
He added: “I just wasn’t thinking straight. I thought John would not have minded but I didn’t think about his family and that.
“At the time I wasn’t thinking, I wasn’t thinking straight when I said it was him.”
“As soon as I said it was him it was constantly on my mind.”
The court heard police investigations revealed Mr Sumner had been with his family on the night of Mr Dagg’s killing and had been nowhere near the scene.
Jess Ryan, 25, of Toronto Road, Sunderland, told jurors he has been warned his family will be “terrorised” if he reveals the real identity of Mr X.
He told the court: “My friend has told me and my family, he has passed the message on.
“He said ‘tell Jess him and his family are going to get terrorised if his name ever comes out, if he gets dropped in it.’
“I just thought if I put John in his place he would never be found out.
“I thought John wouldn’t have minded, he was a good friend.”
Ryan said his brother Jack Ryan, 21, of Toronto Square, who denies being at the scene, had refused to go with him that night.
Both men deny murder.