A robbery gone wrong led to a teenage drug dealer chasing a Crawley man down the street and stabbing him to death, a trial has heard.
Arnold Potter, 24, died from two deep chest wounds he suffered near Watson Close on November 15 last year.
A 17-year-old boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – is charged with his murder and possessing a bladed article. He denies both charges.
Prosecutor Rowan Jenkins told Hove Crown Court this morning: “This was a deliberate attack with a lethal weapon. It is a fast moving event with a shocking outcome.
“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.”
Defendant showed friends knives he owned
Opening the case to the jury, he said: “The defendant may have been 17 but he was a drug dealer.”
The court heard that in the months before the incident the boy showed friends knives that he had.
Mr Potter had been on his way home from work with a friend that evening and was observed to be ‘somewhat agitated’.
A robbery gone wrong?
He asked his friend if he ‘wanted to help him rob someone’, but his friend said he wanted nothing to do with it, the court heard.
The prosecutor continued: “The defendant’s friend says Arnold approached from behind a van and grabbed the defendant by the clothing at the back of his neck.
“He remembers Arnold say to the defendant ‘you are going to take me to your house and give me everything you have got’.”
Mr Potter and the defendant walk down the road a short way before the altercation.
“The defendant’s friend says that after the two had walked up the road a bit the defendant suddenly stepped forward and freed himself.
“He turned and punched Arnold Potter in the chest.”
Mr Jenkins said that Mr Potter fell to the floor, and it is the prosecution’s case that the punch was actually a stab with a blade.
Defendant chases Mr Potter down the street
Mr Potter did not fight back and ran off, with the defendant then giving chase around a corner and into an alleyway, the court heard.
The prosecutor continued: “There are no witnesses as to the events just going into the little alleyway.
“We say that is likely that it is here that the defendant caught up with Arnold and struck out with that knife, this time right into his upper back, deep enough for him to penetrate the lung for a second time.
“He just left Arnold Potter there and went home.”
Paramedics were called to the scene but were unable to save Mr Potters life.
The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.