A man who was allegedly stabbed across his cheek and in the neck by a friend wielding a Stanley knife thought his face was falling off as he was taken to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, a court has heard.

Gavin Clarke said he was left holding his face following the attack in the early hours of September 4 last year in Cromdale Walk, Stevenage, and could feel the blood seeping through his fingers.

Mr Clarke gave the account in a police interview after he had been released from hospital.

The recorded video interview was played to a jury yesterday at St Albans Crown Court, where 36-year-old Alan Copestake – now of Ickleford Road, Hitchin – is facing trial.

He denies attempting to murder the 40-year-old, and also denies causing grievous bodily harm with intent and having an article with blade or point.

Prosecutor Ann Evans told the jury of eight women and four men: “Its difficult to piece together why these events happened.”

She said the men had known each other for “most of their lives”, and that there was no clear motive for what happened at around 4.30am that morning.

“Gavin Clarke said this defendant was someone he thought of as a friend – someone who he never thought would carve him with a knife,” she said.

The jury also heard there had been a flurry of calls and texts sent by Mr Clarke to Mr Copestake before the attack.

After sending the messages, Mr Clarke called another friend called Mickey and arranged for him to take him in his car to Cromdale Walk, where he intended to meet Mr Copestake.

When they arrived, a resident in the street reported hearing noises and looked out of her window to see two men hitting each other.

She phoned the police, and on returning to the window saw Mr Copestake getting into a car and then discarding an object. She reported seeing Mr Copestake being “violently sick”.

Back in the other vehicle, Mr Clarke said he told his friend to take him to Lister Hospital.

On arrival in the hospital’s A&E car park, Mrs Evans said, Mr Clarke got out of the car and collapsed on the ground.

He had suffered a deep cut to the right side of his face, as well as cuts close to a vein in his neck.

He had to undergo surgery, and was put into an induced coma for two days as part of his treatment.

Mrs Evans said when police arrived in Cromdale Walk they found the defendant sitting on the ground between two cars.

Mr Copestake told police that when he got out of his car he was approached from another vehicle by Mr Clarke, who lunged at him and punched him.

He said any injuries Mr Clarke had received were because of his “own actions”, and said he had put his hands up to defend himself.

Mr Clarke told police it was Mr Copestake who had attacked him.

A search of the area by police turned up a silver Stanley-type knife.

The trial continues.