A BOY accused of murder told police he was acting in self-defence.

The 17-year-old - who cannot be named for legal reasons - is accused of murdering Carl Hopkins in Colchester town centre in February and wounding another man with intent in the same incident.

He gave a prepared statement to police after he was arrested but refused to answer any other questions.

He said he had arranged to meet people he knew in a place called Graffiti Alley off Maidenburgh Street in Colchester and was confronted when he arrived, wrestled to the floor, choked to the point he was losing conciousness, hit with a bar and kicked.

The boy said he could not see what was happening because he had his hood pulled over his head.

“I was in possession of a knife which I managed to get out of my trousers,” he said in the prepared statement to the police.

“I was struggling to breathe and started to swing - I was unaware of where I made contact but he let go.

“The other man came at me and I was waving the knife at him to warn him off.

“We came together but he remained on his feet.

“I saw the other man who had me in the headlock was no longer on the floor.

“As I ran I saw my cap on the floor and picked it up.

“I ran to where I was staying, I was bleeding so I cleaned myself up and made arrangements for a taxi to collect me.”

The boy told police he was in fear of his life, did not mean to kill or cause serious harm and said he was the victim of an attempted robbery.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard the teenager was a drug runner for a line called DnT.

His role in the operation was to take Class A drugs to the users and collect cash.

People wanting to buy would call a number and would give him directions for where to meet people.

Tracy Ayling QC, prosecuting, said she planned to argue the boy’s actions were too serious to be classed as self-defence.

She said: “The defendant was out selling Class A drugs on the street of Colchester.

“Knowing and anticipating the dangers in the murky world of drug supply, he was armed with a knife ready to use it should somebody try to relieve him of the drugs.

“There can be no excuse or justification of the attempt to steal drugs but his response was swift and disproportionate.

“A headlock in response to being stabbed – his immediate response was to use the knife.

“He did not run, he did not give up the drugs.

“What happened in that alleyway happened in less than a minute.

“The defendant at worst had a cut to his head.

“Jon Birch had four stab wounds and was seriously injured.

“Carl Hopkins left the alleyway dying.”

The boy is said to have sustained a small cut over his eyebrow in the incident.

When he was arrested he told police he had done it to himself a couple of days before but had no recollection of how it had been sustained.

The 17-year-old denies murder and wounding with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues