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‘I killed him by accident’, Holloway murder accused tells court

PUBLISHED: 17:05 19 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:22 19 October 2010

Victim Duncan MacRae

Victim Duncan MacRae

Archant

A MAN accused of stabbing his neighbour to death at a hostel for the homeless told an Old Bailey jury it was an accident.

Yamine Ladghem-Chikouche, 24, admitted he must have killed Scotsman Duncan MacRae, 55, at a block of flats in Caledonian Road, Holloway, while “waving” a knife around during a row.

The French Algerian said he fled the country on a Eurostar train the next day after finding out Mr MacRae had died.

Asked why, he said: “I was shocked, I just wanted to go back to France. I needed my family at that point.

“I was really scared. I was scared of going to prison. I panicked and at the time I needed some support.”

CCTV footage played to jurors showed him grinning as he cleared security checks at St Pancras station on his way out of the country.

Eight months later he contacted the police through a solicitor to say he was willing to hand himself in, the court heard.

Ladghem-Chikouche was flown back to the UK on March 17 this year and charged with murder.

Asked why he came back, he replied: “To clear my name”.

Jurors have heard Mr MacRae was attacked in the hallway of hostel on July 15 last year.

A stab wound to the back pierced a major blood vessel and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is claimed Ladghem-Chikouche intervened after Mr MacRae got into a row with another resident at the flats over heroin.

He told jurors that the victim must have been injured during a struggle in the hallway, but denied intending to cause him injury.

Ladghem-Chikouche added: “I may well have caused the injury when I was waving the knife.

“I saw a lot of blood on the knife and I panicked. I didn’t know where I stabbed him, I assumed I stabbed him but I didn’t know where and I just ran out.”

Mark Fenhalls, prosecuting, said Ladghem-Chikouche’s account of the scuffle did not explain the gaping head injury and two stab wounds to the victim’s back.

Ladghem-Chikouche replied: “I just can’t explain it”.

Mr Fenhalls: “It’s because you couldn’t explain it and you knew you weren’t acting in self-defence that you made good your escape and you fled.

“No doubt you thought sufficient time had lapsed that you thought you would be able to come back and try your chances in March this year, hoping that witnesses wouldn’t give evidence.

“You lost your temper with mr MacRae and you attacked and killed him.

“This was no accident - this was a deliberate, callous series of attacks.

“You have come here and lied repeatedly to the jury.”

The defendant insisted he was telling the truth.

Ladghem-Chikouche, of no fixed address, denies murder.

The trial continues.


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