A Sydenham teenager’s killer had clashed with one of the victim’s drug dealing gang members in the month before the fatal stabbing, a court heard.

Marley Lucas, 21, who denies murder, took to the witness box yesterday (December 2) to give his account of the events leading up to the fatal argument in Sydenham High Street on June 1 of this year.

He accepts stabbing Nathan Murray, 18, who despite intensive care treatment died in King's College Hospital from a 17cm single stab wound to the chest.

Since his release from prison in 2013, Lucas, of Champion Road, had been making around £200 a week selling cannabis to earn some extra money while he studied painting and decorating, the jury was told.

On six or seven occasions he had bought his drugs from Mr Murray’s friend Enver Mehmet, who Lucas had several "incidents" with in the months before June 1, including allegedly being kidnapped and threatened with a knife.

Asked why he never reported any of these incidents to the police, Lucas told the court: "Where I’m from you don’t really call the police for that, I don’t think they would want to help you anyway."

Michael Holland QC, defending, told the jury both the alleged killer and the victim were "no angels".

Mr Murray, who was known as 'erbs', had been convicted of multiple robberies, many of which involved stealing mobile phones from children, as well as drug offences.

At the time of his death he was on police bail for an allegation of robbery and possession with intent to supply drugs, which required him to sign on at Lewisham police station every Monday and Friday.

Mr Holland refuted the idea that Mr Murray's killing was a planned attack.

He said: "If there's any sort of plan why is this at noon in one of the busiest places in south east London?

"Because we suggest to you that the key to this series of events may be for you decide that nobody was planning anything that day and this is an event that blew up on the streets as it happened between young men who survive, until this event, on the streets of Sydenham.

"Young men who are on the streets of what is a rough area of London may behave in a certain way when they're on the streets."


Giving evidence Lucas said after driving to his mother's house, who he discovered wasn't in at the time, he bumped into a 16-year-old friend who he'd known for many years.

The girl, who cannot be named because of her age, joined him in the car and they went to get lunch on Sydenham High Street, the jury heard.

Lucas said he stopped at a junction to call his partner, when Mr Murray, who was in the high street with three of his friends, turned round and spotted Lucas' car.

Mr Murray allegedly told Lucas "get out of the car, let me chat to you".

When he came round to the back of the car and saw Mr Murray was holding a knife he grabbed it "straight away", at which point the victim stepped towards him, Lucas told the jury.

Lucas said he pushed Mr Murray backwards, still with the knife in his right hand.

He told the jury: "I realised I had the knife in my hand that’s how I realised it must have gone inside of him "So I just realised that he’s been stabbed."

Lucas drove to Peckham to get out of the area, and discarded the knife down a drain, the court was told.

He said: "The next day I found out that unfortunately he died and then when I found out he has died I didn’t know what to do.

"I just felt like my head was all over the place."

The trial at the Old Bailey continues.