A MAN was stabbed to death over a mobile phone in a bloody revenge attack, a court heard.
Andrew Lucas was left dying in a pool of blood after a knife was plunged into his leg, severing a major artery.
The 20-year-old, from Washington, was attacked by Mark Spalding and Paul Mallin who, it was claimed, were exacting revenge over a street mugging just 20 minutes earlier.
Questioned by detectives, friends Spalding, 45, and Mallin, 35, blamed each other for inflicting the fatal wound, Newcastle Crown Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutors claim the pair both armed themselves with knives when they went out looking for Mr Lucas in the early hours of Saturday, November 3, last year.
The court heard they then cornered their victim on the landing of flats in Oxclose, Washington, before stabbing and leaving him to die.
Nicholas Lumley QC, prosecuting, said: “Andrew’s crime was to have mugged Mark Spalding of his mobile telephone 20 minutes earlier. For that he paid the ultimate price.
“Andrew was no angel but nothing excuses what these two men then did.
“We say, acting together and armed with knives, they went out for revenge. Andrew was unarmed and outnumbered in the minutes before he died.”
The court heard the trio first came into contact with each other as Mr Lucas and pals walked home following a night at a friend’s house.
Fuelled by drink and drugs, the court was told, he ran up to Spalding, punching him and causing him to fall to the ground.
He then stole a mobile phone which the defendant had bought just days earlier.
Mr Lumley added: “We suggest Mr Spalding then hatched a plan to get his friend to help take revenge on whoever it was who had the nerve to steal from him. Together, armed with knives, they were intent on finding and punishing that person.”
The court heard that, minutes later, the pair spotted Mr Lucas near to the home he shared with his brother in Warkworth Close.
Mr Lumley said: “One of the men pulled out a weapon and, together, they went for him, chasing after him.”
Cornered at the top of a staircase, the court was told how residents heard a man shouting “where’s my phone, where’s my money” as well another man screaming “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”.
Mr Lucas’s girlfriend, Vanessa Gibson, then arrived at the scene and ran up the stairs where one of the men allegedly told her “I’ve just given him a good kicking”.
Mr Lumley added: “Slumped against railings, Andrew was bleeding heavily, blood gushing from the severed artery at the top of his leg.”
During Spalding’s police interview, he said he saw Mallin punching Mr Lucas and then saw blood.
Mr Lumley QC said: “He said he hadn’t seen any knife until he saw the knife in Mr Mallin’s hand as he caught up with him after the incident.”
During Mallin’s police interview he said: “I saw Mark stab him in the leg”.
Mr Lumley QC added: “Both men had knives on their return to the flat. Both man are lying when they said the other man had the knife.
“Both men are lying when they said they were unaware of the knife. Both men are lying when they said they had no idea what was going to happen.”
Spalding, of Kestrel Close, Ayton, Washington, and Mallin, of Dunstanburgh Close, Washington, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Lucas on the first day of their trial.