Defendant in Stevenage murder trial appears in court

THE man accused of stabbing to death Stevenage man Mark Butler told a murder trial jury today (Wednesday) that the deceased was like a brother to him and he never meant to kill him.

From the witness box, Dwayne Parchment, 29, of Bowcock Walk, Stevenage, told the jury how Mr Butler could become intimidating when drinking and smoking crack cocaine.

He told the court how, on one occasion, the deceased had held a knife to his face and he had felt threatened.

Parchment said that on the day of his friend’s death they spent their time smoking crack cocaine and drinking. That afternoon, he said they went to a nearby store to buy more alcohol and then returned to his home in Bowcock Walk, Stevenage.

Mr Benjamin Aina QC, defending, asked him: “What sort of mood was he in,” to which Parchment replied: “He was alright. Same as always.”

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Mr Aina then asked if anything changed.

Parchment replied: “He started getting upset with himself, the way he was living his life.”

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Parchment told the court how his friend said: “I can’t take this anymore. I can’t do the best for my little girl.”

He said he also complained that his mother was stressing him out, at which point Mr Parchment said he defended her, pointing out that she was looking after his child.

“That’s when he started standing up, saying ‘You don’t know what I have been through’ and I said ‘Calm down’,” Parchment told jurors.

He said an argument ensued, with Mr Butler swearing at him.

“I stood up and told him to calm down and keep the noise down,” said Parchment.

He told jurors he may have told Mr Butler to leave his home, but he said the deceased then threatened violence towards him.

“He pushed me and I went back. There was a knife on the side, on a cabinet. We had used it to cut drugs. He looked over towards it and made a move towards it and I managed to get to the knife before him.”

Parchment said that all he wanted to do was keep the knife away from Mr Butler, who he said was trying to get it.

“I moved it back and he tried to get it off me. The next thing I knew I got punched across the side of my head. I put my head down, I got hold of him and pushed him back.”

He told the court that he was still holding the knife as he and his friend stumbled back and ended up tumbling onto a sofa. He said he stood up and then realised there was blood on the blade.

He told the jury: “I didn’t intentionally stab him, he’s my best friend.”

Parchment went on: “He was like a brother to me. I can’t believe I am standing in court today charged with the murder of my friend.”

Parchment said that as he looked at his friend, who was still sprawled on the sofa, he could hear him making choking sounds, and it was at that point that Parchment’s girlfriend came into the room and pulled Mr Butler onto the floor and put him into the recovery position.

He said she made a 999 call and he then left the house. He said he was “literally in bits” and began running, crying as he did so.

“I had the knife and I threw it in a bush,” Parchment told the court.

He said he went to a nearby house and changed his clothing, before going to his grandmother’s address in London.

Asked how the knife had gone into Mr Butler, he replied: “I pushed him back and we both fell on the sofa. That’s basically what happened. I didn’t intend to hurt him and I didn’t intend to kill him.”

Parchment has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Butler on July 13 last year.

The trial continues.

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