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Student stabbed twice during stairway scuffle: murder trial

Maidstone Crown Court
Maidstone Crown Court

by Julia Roberts

A Margate student died after he was fatally stabbed in the neck and chest during a fight, a court heard on Thursday.

But it was not the man with whom 25-year-old Tommy Balsam was fighting that was responsible for his alleged murder.

It was, Maidstone Crown Court heard, Ian Deadman who intervened with tragic consequences in the scuffle between his friend, James Carter, and Mr Balsam.

The 46-year-old is accused of reaching over Mr Carter and twice plunging a knife with a blade at least 12cm long into Mr Balsam.

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby told the court Mr Balsam was attacked at the foot of stairs outside Deadman's flat in Canterbury Road, Margate in September last year.

Trouble flared after Deadman had gone to Mr Balsam's friend's flat armed with a knife and what was later described as a "home-made metal weapon with two points".

Mr Saxby said there was a "simmering" background of trouble between Deadman and the occupant, Jordan Best, which was "about to explode". When Deadman went to Mr Best's flat he was described by Mr Best's 16-year-old girlfriend as being "drunk and proper angry".

Mr Balsam, who had only just met Deadman that evening, tried to calm him down and eventually Deadman went back downstairs towards his own flat. However, troubled continued when Mr Carter, worried about Deadman, came into the communal hallway and exchanged words with Mr Best over the stairs.

Mr Balsam then appeared and went down to confront Mr Carter on his friend's behalf. The two men came to blows and it is alleged the defendant stabbed Mr Balsam during this altercation.

After being arrested, Deadman told police he didn't have a knife and didn't see Mr Balsam being stabbed. Deadman maintained he didn't see any knives and had no idea where bloodspots on his hand had come from.

"He gave the barest of accounts and declined to enlarge upon it in any shape or form," said Mr Saxby.

The court heard that in a second statement Deadman said he may have been "confused" in his original account but reiterated he had not stabbed Mr Balsam.

Deadman denies murder and the trial is expected to last until early June.

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