A man on trial accused of murdering well-known Keighley resident George Dore has told the jury he wielded the knife that stabbed him to death.

Leslie Walker said he picked up a knife from the street and struck out with it while scuffling with Mr Dore outside his home in the early hours of April 8.

Walker, 46, and Angela Thornton, 48, both of Nightingale Street, Keighley; and Anthony Atha, 53, of West Bank Close in the town all deny murder.

The jury at Bradford Crown Court has heard that Mr Dore, 49, died soon after being stabbed to the heart outside his house in Fell Lane, Keighley, at around 3.40am.

Giving evidence in his defence yesterday, Walker said he did not intend to kill Mr Dore or to cause him really serious injury.

He said he had done a number of jobs over the years, including labouring work and being employed at a pig farm.

From the age of nine, he began abusing substances, starting with sniffing gas and going on to take heroin and crack cocaine.

In 2008, he was jailed for two and a half years for possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply it.

He also had convictions for burglary, theft and handling stolen goods but nothing for violence.

Walker said he had “never had a cross word” with Mr Dore who was well-known in Keighley.

He had known Atha since childhood and he was like a brother to him.

Walker said Atha, known as Tony, had nothing to do with the incident with Mr Dore. “He’s not an aggressive man at all, he’s a pacifist,” he said.

Walker said he and Thornton were living together in April. He called her Ange and cared about her very much.

She told him she felt entitled to some money, he thought £150, from Mr Dore.

The night before Mr Dore died, Walker said he smoked a bit of crack and drank lager.

Thornton then raised the matter of the money and ordered a taxi to Mr Dore’s address.

Walker told the jury he thought the money “would come in handy” and they could have a discussion with Mr Dore about it.

He did not take a knife with him, he said, but Thornton had a “stick” made from a shopping trolley handle with cloth round it.

Walker said she began arguing with a female he didn’t see at Mr Dore’s house. When the woman went back inside, he accepted that he booted the door.

He told the jury Mr Dore then came out “all fists flying.”

He grabbed hold of Thornton and threw her to the ground.

“I went to intervene by stepping up to him. He punched me in the face,” Walker said.

He fell to the ground and noticed the knife lying there.

“I got to my feet and picked it up. I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I was in a state of panic,” he said. He told the jury Mr Dore was “swinging” Thornton about and he thought she was going to get seriously hurt.

Mr Dore was “twice her size,” he said. “He was a big bloke.”

He tried to get him off her. The men were scuffling and he struck out with the knife. Walker said he knew it had made contact. He didn’t know where but it was to Mr Dore’s top half.

“Afterwards, I thought to myself there was a good chance I’d injured him but I didn’t realise how seriously,” he said.

Both men fell to the floor and got up. Mr Dore went back into his home and Walker set off down the street with Atha and Thornton.

Walker said that neither Atha nor Thornton had anything to do with Mr Dore’s death.

“It was no one else. No one else could have done it,” he stated.

He said he felt “disgusted and ashamed” when he was told that Mr Dore was dead.

“I’m gutted. I’ve got to live with the knowledge that I took a man’s life,” he told the court.

Cross-examined by Simon Kealey QC for the Crown, Walker said it was a mistake to go round to Mr Dore’s house at that time of the morning because it was likely to make him angry.

He said the “stick” was taken for back-up.

Mr Kealey’s cross-examination will resume on Monday morning.

The trial continues.