Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 19:32 UK

Court hears of neighbour 'hell'

Court drawing of Habib Khan in court
Mr Khan apologised to Mr Brown's family over the death

A man accused of murdering his neighbour has told a court living next door to him for five years was "hell".

Habib Khan, 50, of Uttoxeter Road, Normacot, Stoke-on-Trent, denies murdering Keith Brown, 52, last July.

He told Stafford Crown Court he held a knife against Mr Brown "to scare him" when he saw him trying to strangle his son Azir Saddique in a headlock.

Mr Brown fell, causing the knife to go into his back, he said. Mr Khan and Mr Saddique also deny unlawful wounding.

Their unlawful wounding charges relate to Keith Brown's son Ashley Barker.

Earlier in the case, another of Mr Khan's sons, Khazir Saddique, admitted a charge of unlawfully wounding Mr Barker. He is to be sentenced at a later date.

It was an accident, please forgive me
Habid Khan

Prosecutor William Davies QC has previously told the court Mr Khan killed Mr Brown on 6 July with a single stab wound after joining a fight involving his son. He later died in hospital.

Mr Khan told the court his family had suffered many incidents of racial and physical abuse from Mr Brown and Mr Barker.

The jury were shown pictures of Habib Khan which they heard were taken after Mr Barker assaulted him.

Mr Khan's barrister asked him about these incidents.

He replied: "There were so many... almost on a daily basis."

It was, he added, "like living in hell."

The jury also heard the two men had vandalised Mr Khan's house and threatened to kill him and his family.

Family apology

He also said his family and Keith Brown's family had had many rows particularly over the building of his house on Uttoxeter Road.

Habib Khan after an assault
The jury was told Mr Barker had attacked Mr Khan

Mr Khan told the court he had taken a knife to his neighbour's home to scare him because his son was being attacked.

He said he put the knife against the skin on his back, but as Mr Brown released his son Azir from a headlock he fell and the knife went into him.

Mr Khan said he then pulled out the knife and ran towards his own home, calling out for someone to alert police.

He told the jury he had "never denied" that he had caused the injury, but had not meant to hurt Mr Brown and prayed every day for forgiveness.

He apologised to Mr Brown's family and told the court that despite their problems, he had hoped they would one day become "good neighbours".

"It was an accident, please forgive me," he said.

The trial continues.

Man stabbed neighbour in dispute
12 May 08 |  Staffordshire

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