NEIGHBOURS of a man accused of the murder of his friend in a Gwent village last January, have described seeing and hearing the pair arguing in the street.

Paul Mapps, 26, and his alleged victim Ian Davies engaged in a foul-mouthed exchange outside Mapps’ home in Marshfield Road, Trinant – during which punches were thrown – early in the afternoon of Saturday January 11 this year, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Shortly after 9.30pm that evening, 27-year-old Mr Davies was pronounced dead at the Royal Gwent Hospital as a result of injuries caused by a single stab wound to his abdomen.

Immediately after the stabbing, which occurred at around 7.15pm, Mapps claimed in an emergency call to the ambulance service that an intruder had burst into his house and stabbed Mr Davies.

Mapps subsequently accepted he was responsible for stabbing Mr Davies at his (Mapps’) house. He denies murder. Prosecuting counsel Paul Lewis QC has told the jury it is likely Mapps “will suggest he stabbed Mr Davies in self defence”.

The court had already been told by Marshfield Road resident Jody Meek that rows involving the pair had been going on throughout January 11.

Yesterday, three more witnesses described seeing and hearing the pair arguing between 12.30pm and 1.15pm that day.

Gemma James, of Llanerch Road, Trinant, said she saw a scuffle between two men as she reached the junction with Marshfield Road while pushing her baby’s pram.

She recognised Mr Davies but had not known the other man.