A Crawley teenager accused of wounding another man in Langley Green is denying any wrongdoing.
The boy, 17, who cannot be named because of legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, unlawful wounding, and having an offensive weapon in a public place.
Lewes Crown Court heard that the incident happened on October 24 last year.
Prosecutor Francis Lloyd said a group of men who had been playing football returned to the changing room at half time and found that their phones and wallets had been taken.
He said the defendant and two other people were standing nearby, and when one of the footballers used a phone tracing app, his phone turned out to be in a bag ‘very near to where this defendant was’.
Mr Lloyd said one of the footballers - Mr Saltos - grabbed the defendant by the arm to stop him running away.
“The defendant pulled out a knife and cut him, straight away,” he said.
The jury was shown pictures of an injury to Mr Saltos’ side and another, which Mr Lloyd described as ‘very nasty’, to the side of his neck.
He added that the defendant accepts that he caused the injuries.
“He says he was acting in self defence,” he added.
“That these footballers, upset about the theft, came charging up, and he was so frightened that he used the knife.”
The defendant claimed that he had the knife with him for his own protection, because he had been threatened recently.
Giving evidence, Mr Saltos said the defendant had thrown several punches at him while trying to get away.
He described feeling a ‘massive pain’, then seeing a blade being dropped.
However, he did not realise that he’d been stabbed until one of his teammates told him so.
He had needed 34 stitches to his neck, and ten to his side.
The case continues.
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