Charles Riddington broke down in tears in court today as he told jurors he “was so scared” when he inflicted fatal stab wounds to new dad George Barker in a Bexley gym.

Riddington, 37, was cross-examined in front of a jury on Thursday morning over the murder of Mr Barker, 24, on November 14, 2016 at the Double K Gym in Bexley Village.

Mr Barker was stabbed to death at the Thai boxing gym just five days after his partner had given birth to a baby girl.

The defendant, from Orpington, denies murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

Questioned by Orlando Pownall, QC, defending, Riddington said he had gone over the events at the gym “too many times” in his head.

He told jurors the fight broke out because Mr Barker had told a group of three “big drug dealers”, to whom he owed money, that Riddington owed him £20,000.

Riddington recalled calling Mr Barker “moneybags” when he saw him at the gym on the morning of November 14, 2016.

He claimed he was "belittling" Mr Barker, telling jurors: “I said to him: 'I tell you what you need to do George, you need to stop going out buying champagne with other people’s money. You need to put your money indoors for that baby'.”

Describing a “tussle” between himself and Mr Barker on the morning of the stabbing, Riddington broke down in tears.

The court heard the fight that broke out between the pair “wasn’t very long” according to the defendant’s recollection.

Riddington alleged Mr Barker had produced “a large lock knife” during the conflict.

He told the jury: “I was so close to [Mr Barker], I had to react. In a split second I grabbed his arm and I pushed his arm upwards.”

He added he managed to wrestle the knife from Mr Barker’s hand.

The defendant accepted he had inflicted three fatal stab wounds on Mr Barker in his left lung and spleen.

When asked by Mr Pownall if he considered he could have behaved differently in the circumstances, Riddington replied: “As far as I was concerned, I was doing what I had to do to defend myself.”

He denied losing his temper during the conflict.

Addressing Jonathan Lees QC, prosecuting, about the fatal stab wounds, Riddington said: “I was fighting for my life. I was so scared.”

The court heard Riddington went home after the fight and spoke to his wife before going to his mother and father in-law’s house.

He told jurors he put his blood-stained clothes in the washing machine and washed the knife before disposing of all the items.

Riddington also told the jury he flew from Manchester to Dusseldorf the day after Mr Barker died, before flying to South Africa about eight days later.

Wiping tears from his eyes, he said: “We decided for the safety of our kids and for me that I had better get out of London.”

The prosecution alleged: “You were thinking only of yourself and avoiding responsibility for the murder of George Barker.”

Riddington denied this allegation.

Jurors were also told of Riddington's previous convictions, including burglary when he was 16 years old.

The trial continues.