Crawley murder trial - teenager claims Arnold Potter tried to rob him at knifepoint

A boy drug dealer accused of murdering Crawley man Arnold Potter told police he was attacked and feared for his life.

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 7:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 7:22 pm
A teenager who cannot be named for legal reasons is standing trial for murder

The teenager told police: “All I wanted to do was stop him using a knife on me or robbing me.”

Arnold Potter, 24, died from two deep chest wounds he suffered near Watson Close on November 15 last year.

The 17-year-old boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – has been standing trial charged with murder and possessing a bladed article. He denies both charges.

Arnold Potter (right) died in November last year after suffering stab wounds

Prosecutor Rowan Jenkins told Hove Crown Court last week that the incident was a ‘deliberate attack’ by the defendant with a ‘lethal weapon’.

He added: “The real focal issue perhaps in this case is self-defence and whether he was acting in lawful self-defence of himself or another. The crown’s case is that he was not.”

Mr Potter was praised as a 'loving, caring and kind-hearted man' by his family after his death.

'He pulled out the knife and held it to my throat'

Today the jury were played a recording of the defendant’s police interview, in which describes the encounter with Mr Potter.

Appearing very distressed and crying in interview, the boy tells police: “I decided to walk down to the local shop to get a drink. I saw Arnold come out of the alleyway.

“Arnold is someone I know who had a violent record and is a lot bigger than me.

“He pulled out the knife and held it to my throat.”

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Boy claims he did not realise he had his knife

The boy said that Mr Potter spun him round and put the knife against his back, ordering him to take him to his home so that he could ‘take everything’, the court heard.

He told police that his phone had rung and he had reached into his bag to answer it when Mr Potter told him to leave it.

“I started to bring my hand out [when I] felt the knife. I have gone to answer the phone and realised it was there.

“[It was my] natural reaction to grab hold of the knife and get it out.”

The boy told officers that he did not know his knife was in the bag until that moment, the court heard.

'All I wanted to do was stop him using a knife on me or robbing me'

He continued: “I took a big step forward to get away from his knife in my back and I swung mine at him.

“As I swung my arms around the knife went into Arnold. All I wanted to do was stop him using a knife on me or robbing me.”

Mr Potter then ran off, the boy said, and he gave chase until he stopped near Watson Close.

“He turned round and I could see that he had blood on his shirt.”

At this point the defendant said he ‘stopped running, turned round and went home’, but quickly left again.

“I was very scared as I had seen so much blood on Arnold.

“I was in a complete panic so I stayed out all night.”

The boy handed himself in to police the following day and was taken to Brighton custody centre.

The trial continues.