A MAN accused of holding a knife to the throat of a contractor in a dispute over a shed has claimed his keys were mistaken for a blade.

Michael Kearney, of Foresters Tower, Wood Farm Road, Oxford, denies one count of threatening another with a bladed article and one count of possessing the blade.

During his trial at Oxford Crown Court, which began on Monday and continued yesterday, prosecutor Edward Culver said that the 47-year old had been informed in a letter that works at the Oxford tower block would lead to the demolition of his shed.

This so enraged Kearney, Mr Culver said, that on the afternoon of October 5 last year he confronted a worker from contractor Willmott Dixon at Knights Road, Blackbird Leys, near to the Windrush tower, which was also undergoing works.

He told the jury of nine men and three women that Kearney spotted Nigel Greenridge walking with a colleague at about 4pm when he approached, showing a letter he had received regarding the sheds and 'angrily' demanding answers.

Kearney, the court heard, then grabbed Mr Greenridge by the tie with one hand before brandishing a Stanley knife and holding it to Mr Greenridge's throat before he fled the scene and police were called.

But taking to the witness box yesterday, Kearney told jurors that while there had been a confrontation he was not carrying a knife and did not threaten Mr Greenridge.

He said: “I didn’t have a Stanley knife, I do not carry a Stanley knife, I have never used a Stanley knife as a weapon in my life.

“I can see that they perceived I had a Stanley knife but the facts are that I didn’t have a Stanley knife.”

He added that he was holding a set of keys in his hand during the altercation and he did grab the victim’s tie.

He said: “I grabbed his tie, I was sarcastic, I was intimidating and I was rude. I said ‘nice tie’ and touched his tie below the knot.”

Kearney also denied shouting after Mr Greenridge in the moments after the incident and telling him he would ‘come and get him.’

Mr Greenidge, giving evidence on Monday told the jury Kearney had been 'very agitated' and insisted he was holding a Stanley knife.

The trial concluded yesterday but the jury have not yet returned a verdict and will continue deliberations today.