A MAN accused of the murder of a friend at his home in a Gwent village held a knife to his alleged victim’s throat just weeks before, and threatened to “cut” him, a court was told.

A neighbour of Paul Mapps, of Marshfield Road, Trinant, described seeing the 26-year-old put a kitchen knife to the throat of Ian Davies, during a row in the street outside the former’s home. The reason for the row, shortly before Christmas last year, has not been explained, but Cardiff Crown Court was told that less than a month later Mr Davies, 27, was dead, after being stabbed in the abdomen by Mapps.

Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC told the court that Mapps and Mr Davies were friends, but had had “a somewhat volatile relationship”.

He said at 7.15pm on Saturday, January 11, Mapps made an emergency call to the ambulance service during which he described an attacker coming into his house and stabbing his friend, before running off.

But, said Mr Lewis: “The fatal wound was not in fact inflicted by an unknown assailant who had rushed unexpectedly into the defendant’s home. It was inflicted by the defendant himself, who was seeking to cover up what he had done in that call.

“The defendant now accepts he was responsible for stabbing Mr Davies before he fled the scene.

“It is likely he will suggest he stabbed Mr Davies in self defence because he will say it was Mr Davies who rushed into his home apparently intent on stabbing him.”

Mapps, who denies murder, left the scene with his girlfriend Kayleigh Forbes, and was arrested at another house in Trinant at 10.30pm that night. By then, Mr Davies had died, despite the efforts of surgeons at the Royal Gwent Hospital to save him.

The court was told that Mapps, who had been out drinking the previous night in Blackwood with Miss Forbes and his sister Dawn Mapps, a recent partner of Mr Davies, was seen and heard by neighbours, arguing with Mr Davies in Marshfield Road on a number of occasions during January 11.

Jody Meek, also of Marshfield Road, told the court that rows had erupted throughout that day, Mapps appearing angry and abusive toward Mr Davies, who she said appeared very drunk, and who kept saying to Mapps that an issue between them needed “sorting out.”