A MAN accused of a double murder was “surrounded” by his attackers and acted in self-defence when stabbing three people in a matter of seconds, a court has heard.

Rashane Douglas, 19, of Jade Place, Huddersfield, denies murdering Joshua Clark and Haidar Shah on October 1 last year in Commercial Street, Halifax, at around 3.45am after they had all been in Maggie’s nightclub.

He has also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Brandon Coope, who survived being struck by the knife and gave evidence at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday.

See a recap of live updates from Day Two of the trial.

But Naeem Mian KC, defending Douglas, revealed in an opening statement today – an irregular occurrence in a courtroom – that the defendant accepts killing Mr Clark and Mr Shah, as well as stabbing Mr Coope albeit in self-defence.

The defence lawyer said: "The real issue in this case is this, when that 19-year-old young man did what he accepts doing, that's right, he accepts stabbing two, three people, two fatal, he accepts it, this isn't a whodunnit, when he did that, was he or was he not acting in self-defence?"

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Joshua Clark, who died aged 21, and Haidar Shah, who died aged 19Joshua Clark, who died aged 21, and Haidar Shah, who died aged 19 (Image: West Yorkshire Police)

The court heard that Douglas said in a police interview after handing himself in that he saw a knife and that his “only priority was to disarm the person”.

He said: “I feared for my life, the three males surrounded me, assaulted me and making threats, at all times I acted in self-defence."

But on Monday – the first day of the trial – Douglas admitted to having a knife on him, after previously denying this.

The prosecution say he pulled it out, put it in his right hand, then hid it behind his right leg – which Mark McKone KC says is “significant” – before striking the men.

See a recap of live coverage from Day One of the trial

Mr Coope’s video-recorded interviews were played to the courtroom today and in the first – from October 1, 2023 – he described his confusion at what happened during and after the stabbings.

He said it was “all a blur” until he saw his friends on the floor.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Police in Halifax Town Centre after the deathsPolice in Halifax Town Centre after the deaths (Image: PA)

Mr Coope – who is from Bradford – added: "They both started to go slightly blue as well, I didn't know which one to go to."

The court heard earlier in Mr Mian’s opening that Douglas was “not the aggressor” and that he was subjected to a “brutal assault” at the hands of Mr Clark, Mr Shah, and Mr Coope.

Mr Mian challenged Mr Coope in cross-examination and put it to him that himself, Mr Clark, and Mr Shah had circled and “surrounded” Douglas.

Mr Coope responded to say “not intentionally” and then said “we didn’t mean to end up in those positions” when Mr Mian asked if they had surrounded him by accident.

Mr Mian said earlier: "Only when he has sustained punch after punch after punch to his face and his body is a knife produced."

Douglas also denies wounding with intent in relation to Mr Coope.

Yaseen Iqbal, 18, of Hall Bower, Huddersfield, denies assisting an offender over claims he helped Douglas avoid arrest by fleeing the scene with him in a taxi, letting him stay at his house that night, and helping him dispose of the clothing he had been wearing at the time.

The trial continues.