AN alcoholic stabbed by a drugs runner in an alleyway scuffle says he has no idea how another man ended up dead.

Carl Hopkins was found slumped against a fence in Ryegate Road, Colchester, in February having been stabbed to death.

A 17-year-old boy is charged with his murder and it is alleged Mr Hopkins was among a group of people who had planned to rob the teen after arranging a deal to buy drugs from him.

John Birch was in Mr Hopkin’s group and was also stabbed in the melee in a walkway nicknamed Graffiti Alley off Maidenburgh Street, Colchester.

Giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court he said the boy knifed him while they wrestled on the floor

“We both started to fall on the floor – I got stabbed and I don’t know anything else,” he said.

“I was holding him to stop him stabbing me.

“I felt it – my breathing started going funny.”

Mr Birch denied he went armed with a piece of broken glass – saying he had a bottle of booze which accidentally got smashed in the altercation.

He said he didn’t know how Mr Hopkins had been stabbed and didn’t witness it saying he walked off in the opposite direction to the drug runner and went to a snooker club for help.

Mr Birch said he had no part in arranging the encounter with the drug dealer, only meeting with the group later on.

“I was there on my own when I got stabbed,” he said.

“When we arrived ,they were all there but as soon as it started happening they disappeared.

“They were the ones who ordered it and set it up.

“I was just out of my head sitting outside a shop drinking and I wish they had just left me.

“I had £10 so could have bought a bag.”

Mr Birch said being the target for robberies was part of the risk dealers took on the streets saying a wider drugs line was selling Class A substances to youngsters.

He said: “If you want to sell drugs to children that is the life you have got to live by.

“There are 14 and 15-year-old girls running around picking up crack and heroin.”

Mr Birch – a prosecution witness – said he did not care about the outcome of the trial.

“I want the little fella to get off – I don’t care,” he said.

Another witness, John McGuire, told the court Mr Hopkins and Mr Birch had planned to rob the runner.

He said he and some others walked with them towards the alleyway where Mr Birch picked up a weapon and he said he had even handed them £20 for them to buy drugs rather than having to steal.

He could not see the fight in the alley.

The boy, who cant be named for legal reasons, denies murder and wounding with intent saying it was self defence.

n The trial continues.