A MAN accused of murdering Mark Denton claims he found the axe used to attack the Hartlepool boxer on the floor at the fateful party.
But prosecution barristers say David Sowerby had the axe in his hand “ready for action”.
Murder-accused Sowerby claims that he did not pick up the weapon, that was used in the killing of popular town sportsman Mark, until the pair became embroiled in a scuffle at the doorway of a room in the house in Hutton Avenue, where the party was held.
Sowerby, 24, says he wanted to get out of the room because he felt “scared” of 31-year-old Mark as he assaulted him weeks earlier, in October last year.
He claims that as he walked from the corner of the room to the doorway past Mark, the boxer said something aggressive to him and then punched him.
Dad-of-two Sowerby told the court that he got “knocked to the ground” near to a sofa where his half-brother and fellow accused, Anthony Middleton, 21, was sleeping and “picked something up off the floor”.
He said: “He (Mark) went to punch me again and I swung, I didn’t know what it was at the time.
“It was the axe.”
Sowerby then claims Mark managed to get the axe from him, but the defendant got it back by grabbing the weapon.
Prosecution barrister Jamie Hill QC says that Sowerby is lying and that the truth of the matter is that he was holding the axe at the time Mark entered the party.
Mr Hill says the fact that the axe head cover was found in the corner of the room near to where Sowerby was initially standing shows that.
Mr Hill said: “Why was the axe head cover in the very corner of the room where you were queuing to get on the mics?”
Sowerby replied: “I wasn’t right in the corner, I was further to the right.”
Mr Hill added: “You’ve taken the axe head cover off and chucked it on the floor when you saw Mark Denton come in.
“You had the axe in your hand ready for action.”
The defendant denied the accusations but Mr Hill carried on and asked: “You say that you just happened to have fallen on the floor somewhere handy to get hold of the axe?
“He’s let you hit him over the head with the axe?” Sowerby replied: “No I tried to get past him then he went to punch me.”
Mr Hill added: “If Mark Denton had punched you just once you wouldn’t have been in any fit state to get up with an axe.”
The barrister also asked Sowerby how it felt hitting the sportsman with the weapon, the detail of which was too much for Mark’s mum, who left the courtroom.
Middleton, of Bruntoft Avenue, who previously told the jury he was “sorry” for Mark dying, and Sowerby, of Allerton Close, both Hartlepool, deny murder.
The trial continues.