Murder accused was ‘petrified’ of alleged victim after ‘being held at knifepoint’

Flowers in memory of Scott Tarrant who was murdered on Underwood Close, Lowestoft.Picture: Nick Butc

Flowers in memory of Scott Tarrant who was murdered on Underwood Close, Lowestoft.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A man accused of murdering his former friend told police he was 'petrified' of him after being held at knifepoint.

Scott Tarrant. Photo courtesy of Suffolk Constabulary.

Scott Tarrant. Photo courtesy of Suffolk Constabulary. - Credit: Archant

Steven Butcher denies murdering Scott Tarrant shortly after 11pm on July 7 after the pair allegedly fell out after Butcher slept with Mr Tarrant's former partner Rebecca Supple following their split.

Butcher was interviewed by DC James Willcox on July 9 and, in an interview transcript read to jurors at Ipswich Crown Court today, said: 'I know of Rebecca. I helped her out a few times in the past, but I haven't seen her since last year.

'She was living with me for about 10 days when she came out of a relationship and I didn't want to see her on the street, but her children didn't settle so she told me she was going to move back to her mum's.

'A few days later I found out she was living with Keiran Clarke, but I thought it was fine and just got on with my life.'

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In the interview, Butcher denied being friends with Mr Clarke, who told jurors on day two of the trial that Butcher visited his house and said: 'I think I've killed him' and mentioned Mr Tarrant's name.

Butcher, of Ashfield Crescent, Lowestoft, also told DC Willcox he was 'petrified' of Mr Tarrant after being attacked by him in April 2017.

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He said: 'We were friends when we first met, but he had an idea I was sleeping with his missus.

'I was on my own in a nightclub and a glass was thrown at my face, then he grabbed me by the throat.

'He was kicked out but I followed him all the way back to his house and ran towards him with a plank of wood, but then I saw he had two kitchen knives so I ran for my life.

'He put one to my eye and one to my throat and said if I went near her again he would end me.

'I didn't want to be part of that. She was a silly little girl with baggage and children.

'He put a knife to my throat so I was petrified of him, but I wasn't angry. I don't hold grudges.'

Butcher said in the interview he had no further contact with Miss Supple until July 7.

He said: 'She text me asking what I was doing and to come round. I asked if it was okay and she said it was.

'I left Shish about 11pm and told her I would go home and grab a spliff first but when I got there I realised my motorbike wasn't there so I had no way to get to hers.

'I was thinking where it was but then realised all my friends use it. It was hotwired.'

During the first interview with DC Willcox, at 3.20pm on July 8, Butcher answered 'no comment' to many of the questions, before saying: 'I was at Shish for near enough the whole night.

'If I had been charged with murder I would be breaking down.

'Do you think I want to spend 25 years in jail behind bars? I am not doing years in jail so get on with it and let's go.'

Butcher was interviewed again at 7.18pm that night, where he gave no response to questions about his clothing, his phone or his injuries.

He said he was unaware of Underwood Close, where Mr Tarrant died, and 'never' goes to the north side of the river.

He told DC Willcox: 'There is no substantial evidence. You lot can think that I done it and say what you want to me, but I know it is not true so let's hurry up and get on with it.

'I am a Whitton lad, a south lad. I don't go anywhere near there, I have no purpose to.'

In a statement read to the court, jurors also heard from Zeki Seyhan, manager at the Grill Hut, who said Butcher seemed 'cool as a cucumber' after buying Rizla and a drink shortly after midnight.

The trial continues.

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