Boston murder jury told suspect 'confessed to always carrying knife'
THE landlord of a Boston pub has told a murder trial jury he "had never known any trouble" from Stephen Sleaford.
Sleaford, 38, denies stabbing Janusz Smoderek, 48, to death after going to help a teenage girl who was being "molested" by the Polish factory worker in Sleaford Road, Boston.
The prosecution allege Sleaford had brandished a knife during a fight with another man in the Axe and Cleaver pub on West Street on the same weekend Mr Smoderek's body was found.
It is also alleged Sleaford confessed to "always carrying a knife."
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Giving evidence, Delroy Walker, licencee of the Axe and Cleaver, told the jury Mr Sleaford was a regular in his pub. Asked if Mr Sleaford had ever been any trouble Mr Walker replied: "None whatsoever."
Mr Walker said there had been incident where he was forced to eject a group of young men from his pub but Sleaford had not started the trouble.
"Mr Sleaford was looking totally bewildered, bemused, he did not know what was going on," Mr Walker added.
The prosecution allege Sleaford produced a knife during the incident which is alleged to have happened just two days before Mr Smoderek's body was found with five stab wounds.
But giving evidence Mr Walker insisted he never saw Sleaford produce a knife during the disturbance. Axe and Cleaver regular, Gemma Cuppleditch, said it was Sleaford who appeared to be under attack in the pub.
"A lad came in and jumped over the picnic bench where Steve was sitting," Miss Cuppleditch told the jury. "He started punching Steve and grabbed for an empty glass."
Miss Cuppleditch said she also never saw Sleaford produce a knife.
Stephen Sleaford, of no fixed address, denies murder on September 11, 2011.
The trial continues.