ANDREW Lucas had “laughed” at his killer before he was chased and stabbed, a court heard.
Paul Mallin is accused of murdering the 20-year-old, who was stabbed to death in a stairway of a block of flats in Washington, in a revenge attack with Mark Spalding last November.
Spalding has admitted he inflicted the fatal wound, but both men deny murder and are being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
Prosecutors claim Spalding, 45, and Mallin, 35, went out armed with knives hunting for Andrew, who had earlier stolen Spalding’s mobile.
Mallin told jurors he was unarmed and was not looking for trouble when Spalding carried out the killing.
He said he had been walking with Spalding when they saw Andrew and his pal by chance and Spalding confronted him.
Mallin said: “He (Andrew) was just backing off, laughing and goading him a bit then just turned and ran.
“I thought he would get a clip at the most, but I didn’t think he would’ve been caught to be honest.”
Mallin said he followed the chase and saw Spalding had Andrew cornered on the staircase. He said: “He was lunging at him with a knife.
“He was lunging towards Andrew, thrusting the knife.”
Mallin told jurors Andrew “went down pretty quick”.
Spalding, of Kestrel Close, Ayton, and Mallin, of Dunstanburgh Close, Washington, deny murder.