A KILLER has made a courtroom apology to his victim’s family as he gave evidence from the witness box.
Mark Spalding turned to the grieving relatives of Andrew Lucas and told them: “I apologise to you. I know you can’t forgive me but please believe me, I did not set out to harm him. I’m sorry.”
Spalding admitted last week that he delivered the fatal knife blow to 20-year-old Andrew’s leg and left him dying in a pool of blood in an outside stairway at a block of flats in Washington last November.
The 45-year-old, of Kestrel Close, Ayton, and Paul Mallin, 35, of Dunstanburgh Close, Washington, deny murder and are being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
Both men deny the murder charge.
Spalding was asked by his defence barrister John Elvedge QC why he chose to admit Andrew’s manslaughter part-way through the trial, after he had denied he was to blame for so long.
Spalding told the court: “I couldn’t handle it anymore, Mr Lucas’s family deserve to know the truth, there’s too many people getting hurt because of this.”
Spalding told jurors he stabbed Andrew during a fight to “frighten” him but said he did not intend to cause him any serious harm.
He admitted taking valium, crack cocaine, cannabis and prescription medication in the hours before the stabbing.
Spalding told the court: “It should not have happened, I should not have happened like that.
“I just thought it would be alright, I didn’t think anything serious would happen.”
Spalding told jurors he had been making his way home from Mallin’s house in the early hours when Andrew attacked him and took his mobile phone.
He said the attack left him “very scared” and he then went back for Mallin, known as ‘Mimps” to walk him home.
Spalding said when he and Mallin left the house there was a further confrontation with Andrew and they ended up chasing him up the stairway.
Spalding said Andrew lashed out at him again during a confrontation on the stairway then started fighting with Mallin .
He told the court: “Andrew and Paul were wrestling, it happened so quick, they were just fighting, Mimps was in a headlock, struggling.
“Somebody shouted ‘grab that, grab it’. I was not 100 per cent suren but it sounded like Mimps.
“I noticed a knife on the ground.
“I picked it up.
“Andrew let go of Mimps.
“There was stuff getting shouted all the time.”
Spalding told jurors Mallin made off from the stairway after saying they should “bail it”.
He added: “I swung around with it in my left hand, I hit Andrew in the leg.”
Spalding said after he stabbed Andrew he asked him ‘why did you mug me’ and added: “All I wanted was my phone.”
He told jurors: “I saw the blood staining on his pants, I heard Mimps shouting for me to hurry up, I was panicking and I just flew, I ran.”
Spalding said he did not tell the truth about what happened that night earlier because he was “scared”.
The trial continues.