FISE AMES MURDER TRIAL: Man denies South Shields killing and says accused trio were in a 'merry mood'

A man on trial for murder has told jurors he and his alleged accomplices were in a "merry mood" before the deadly confrontation and denied playing any part in it.

Shaun Riches, Michael Raine and Scott Mitchell went into Faisal Ames Abdou's home, in South Shields, South Tyneside, in the early hours of the morning and murdered him, it is claimed.

Raine has now admitted he was at the flat where Mr Abdou, 25, was stabbed ten times in March but denied involvement in any violence.

He has said he was told after the fatal confrontation that it was Mr Abdou, who was known as Fise, who had used a knife first.

Three men deny the murder of Fise Ames.

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Giving evidence from the witness box at Newcastle Crown Court, Raine, a self confessed drug user and dealer, said just before the attack, he and the other two accused men had collected four or five ounces of MDMA from a flat in Chichester in the town and had each taken some of it.

He told jurors they eventually decided to visit Brandon Cairns at his nearby home on Marshall Wallis Road, with a view to selling, weighing or using the drug.

Raine told the court: "We were in a merry mood.

"MDMA makes you happy, me Shaun and Scott."

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Raine said he did not know Mr Abdou was living with Mr Cairns at the flat before they arrived.

He added: "I think I had given Scott the drugs and he had given them to Brandon then walked in.

"He (Brandon) just said 'come in lads'.

"As Scott was walking past him he handed him the bag, Scott handed Brandon the bag of drugs."

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Raine said it was "good, very friendly" as they entered the flat but he remained in the hallway during the brief visit.

He added: "I heard raised voices but at the same time Brandon was locking the door, there was stuff going on behind me and in front of me basically."

Raine said he heard the voices coming from the bedroom, which he later realised Mr Abdou was in, and "sounds of a fight" before "Scott was running out of the room and Shaun was running in".

Raine told jurors after a short period of time the three of them left together and went to a nearby flat, where they stayed for 12 hours and took more drugsbefore he fell asleep.

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But he added that when he woke up he saw police doing "door to door" in the street and said: "Obviously I woke everyone up. Shaun said that Fise had tried to stab Scott."

Raine said there had been some conversation through the night but could not properly remember it and added: "In the morning they told me what happened, Faisal had tried to stab Scott, Shaun had disarmed him and he stabbed him."

He told jurors he and the others then left the flat they were in and added: "Through Facebook I learned that he had died."

Raine admitted he lied to police when he denied being at the flat where Mr Abdou was killed and added: "I thought it best to deny everything, deny beingthere, so that's what I did.

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"I thought I would end up on remand, like I am now, I thought it best to just deny even being there."

Riches, 24, of Wycliffe Avenue, Newcastle, Raine, 35, of Grace House, Percy Main, North Tyneside, and Mitchell, 25, of no fixed abode, all deny murder.

The trial continues.