A man accused of the murder of a father he was living with has told jurors he thought he was going to be stabbed by the man he killed.

Lee Burns, 38, is on trial for the murder of Vincent McDonagh, 45, on November 9 last year.

On Tuesday (May 14), Burns, of Worsley Street, Oldham, took the stand, telling the jury he thought Mr McDonagh was going to stab him.

Burns told the court that on November 5, a few days before the incident, he and his partner, Lindsey Hough, had been in Mr McDonagh's room to watch a firework display.

It was in the room at this time that he said Mr McDonagh had a knife in his possession and that he said he was going to stab the partner of another resident at the property if he entered his room unannounced again.

Burns said Mr McDonagh eventually put the knife down on the bed and Burns then slipped it under the bed.

On November 9, both Burns and Mr McDonagh, who Burns called Vinnie, had been to the Manor Inn pub on Abbey Hills Road that evening, where they drank along with other customers at the pub.

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Burns told the court that the mood and atmosphere in the pub that night “started to deteriorate” due to Mr McDonagh’s behaviour.

He said throughout the night, Mr McDonagh “kept squaring up” to people, particularly himself and Terry Hynes.

The Oldham Times: The Manor Inn pub where Mr McDonagh and Burns went drinkingThe Manor Inn pub where Mr McDonagh and Burns went drinking (Image: Google Street View)

Burns said he spent much of the night trying to calm Mr McDonagh down, and that he made threats at multiple times that he would stab or shoot either Burns or Mr Hynes.

After everyone left the pub, Burns said himself and Mr McDonagh began walking home.

Burns claimed that Mr McDonagh began shouting at him about the use of a derogatory term referring to travellers by someone in the pub during the evening.

He said he tried to downplay the use of the word but Mr McDonagh shouted at him “in a threatening way”.

Burns said Mr McDonagh then tried to take his phone off of him and that after he stopped to read a text, he caught up with Mr McDonagh, who Burns claims grabbed him by the throat, which started the violence.

Burns said he believed Mr McDonagh was going to stab him because as he walked towards him, Mr McDonagh's hand was in his right pocket and it looked like he was trying to grab something from the pocket, saying: "I thought he had a knife in his pocket."

As the tussle began, Burns said he swung a punch at Mr McDonagh, which he says did not totally connect with him, but Mr McDonagh fell to the floor.

Burns claims that while Mr McDonagh was on the floor, he once again had his right hand in his pocket, with Burns believing he was looking to get a knife.

Whilst on the floor, Burns punched Mr McDonagh twice and stamped on his head twice.

When asked by his defence counsel Richard Littler KC why he did "all that", Burns responded: "Because I thought he was going to stab me.

"He attacked me first and I didn't know what he was going to do."

Burns added that he thought Mr McDonagh was "a dangerous guy".

He said Mr McDonagh was still making threats as he walked away from the scene while he was on the ground.

The Oldham Times: Vincent McDonagh with his fiance, Demi, and their sonVincent McDonagh with his fiance, Demi, and their son (Image: GMP)

Earlier in the day, prosecution counsel Robert Hall read a statement from Burns' partner at the time Lindsey Hough, who said in a statement to police the day after that incident that Burns had returned home to Worsley Street, where she was asleep in his bed.

He awoke her and said: "Sorry babe I've just been fighting again, I've punched someone and stamped on their head."

Mr Hall also told the court that no knife or weapon of any kind was found in the possession of Mr McDonagh when his body was found, and there was no knife or weapon found in his room at Worsley Street.

The trial continues.