Simon Birch Christmas Day murder trial hears accused and victim 'were mates'

A Christmas Day host accused of cutting the throat of one his guests after trouble flared at a family gathering was friends with the victim, jurors have heard.

Adam Jenkins attacked Simon Birch, 39, with a kitchen knife and caused fatal injuries on December 25 last year, prosecutors claim.

Jenkins, who runs a "successful" construction company, had hosted a festive family event at his home in Newbottle, Sunderland.

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The guests included Jenkins' partner, his mum, step-dad, father, brother and his sister Emma Jenkins who was with her boyfriend, Mr Birch.

Newcastle Crown Court.

Jenkins, of Sunderland Road, Newbottle, denies murder and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

The 35-year-old, in a recorded police interview shown to jurors, said he could remember little about the day due to the amount he had to drink.

When asked about his relationship with Mr Birch, Jenkins said: "We're mates, we got on. I get on well with everybody.

"I don't really remember much but I remember everyone was singing on the night.

"I went to bed mortal and to be in that state we must have been in the bar area all day."

In his interview, Jenkins stated he couldn't remember if he was put to bed by one of the guests or whether he went himself.

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Some time later he was awoken by one of the children.

He said: "I went down in the sitting room and I heard shouting. Emma and Simon were screaming at each other.

"It was horrible, it was nasty. He was punching her in the face."

Jurors previously heard Jenkins ended up being ushered away into the kitchen by his partner, but he was confronted by Mr Birch soon after.

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The court was told that Jenkins came out of the kitchen and he and Mr Birch then got into a "scuffle".

He said: "He (Mr Birch) was angry, standing there screaming and shouting at me.

"He was walking towards me and pointing."I can't really remember it to be honest. He came towards me and Natalie was screaming."

Jenkins said he remember being "bear hugged" by Mr Birch during the altercation.

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However, prosecutors claim Jenkins armed himself with three knives from his kitchen and delivered the fatal blow.

He added: "I can remember him coming towards me and the next thing I know I'm waking up and getting up off the floor.

"I remember having a scuffle and rolling around. He went for me first.

"There was blood everywhere. He was bleeding from his neck.

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"He was talking at first. He was saying 'What's happening, what's happening, what's happening'.

"I was panicking and tried to speak with the woman on the phone."

A postmortem examination revealed Mr Birch died from a "single slash wound" to his neck.

When asked if he had any weapons on him, Jenkins replied: "No. I know I was drunk but I would remember something like that.

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When asked if he caused the injuries, Jenkins said: "No. I don't know who caused the injuries, it wasn't me.”

Jurors were later played the audio from the 999 call, where Jenkins and his partner were instructed to perform CPR on Mr Birch until an ambulance arrived.

The call handler can be heard asking if the person who inflicted the stab wound was still on scene.

A male's voice, believed to be Jenkins, replied: "Yes, yes, yes just please send someone."

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However, the female later said no one had been stabbed on purpose, but there had been a scuffle.The trial continues.