Norwich murder accused strangled victim over stabbing fears, court told

James Greene. Photo: Norfolk police

James Greene. Photo: Norfolk police - Credit: Archant

A man accused of the murder of a 39-year-old in a Norwich flat said he strangled the victim as he thought he was 'being erratic' and was going to stab him, a court has heard.

The flat at Dolphin Grove where James Greene was fatally injured. Photo: Luke Powell

The flat at Dolphin Grove where James Greene was fatally injured. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

James Greene died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on June 6 following an attack at a flat in Dolphin Grove, in Norwich, where he lived on June 4.

Peter Bruton, 27, who had been a lodger at the flat, is on trial at Norwich Crown Court accused of the murder of Mr Greene, which he denies.

The court has heard there had been a struggle between Bruton and Mr Greene after the victim had threatened Bruton with a bottle in an attempt to get money or drugs from him.

Being cross-examined by Peter Gair, prosecuting, today (Thursday, November 21), Bruton told the court that after the fight broke out he had managed to "overpower" Mr Greene and "pushed him down to the ground".

Mr Gair asked Bruton why he did not then leave.

He said Mr Greene was "still kicking off" and "getting more aggressive" and did not want to see him in the street.

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Bruton said he was grabbed and pulled towards Mr Greene before he grabbed hold of the victim's neck and "closed his windpipe".

Mr Gair asked Bruton how hard he thinks he held his neck to which Bruton replied "hard enough".

The prosecutor asked "hard enough for what" to which Bruton replied: "hard enough to stop the fight".

Mr Gair then asked if it was "hard enough to stop him breathing?"

Bruton replied: "Yes".

Mr Gair asked what Mr Greene was doing and Bruton said he "kept fighting" before making some "strange noises" like "groaning".

The defendant said it was "not very long" after he first pressed on Mr Greene's neck that he passed out.

Mr Gair asked why Bruton strangled Mr Greene.

Bruton said that Mr Greene was being "erratic" and "all that was going through my mind was that he's going to stab me or something" and he insisted he had just been making Mr Greene pass out.

Mr Gair asked if Bruton was in "control of yourself" and he said he was "to the best I could be".

Bruton was also asked could he have stopped if he wanted to.

He replied: "Yes".

The trial continues.