AN alleged killer seen on CCTV to drive his car into a man who later died told jurors he was just trying to protect his friends.

Four men - Michael Yemane, 20, of South Bridge Row, Oxford, Welid Solomon, 25, of Field Avenue, Oxford, Sasan Mohammed Khalid, 19, of no fixed abode, and Safeen Abdullah Karimi, 28, of Hode Garth, Thame, are all on trial at Oxford Crown Court accused of murder.

Prosecutors claim that they killed Luciano Dos Santos Almeida at Southfield Road, Oxford, shortly after 11.30pm on February 27.

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It is claimed that the 22-year-old was hit by a car driven by Solomon before he was repeatedly stabbed by the men.

Yemane and Khalid have already given their accounts and as the trial continued yesterday Solomon took to the witness box.

Explaining why he struck Mr Almeida with the Kia Picanto the Eritrean national said: "As I was driving down [Southfield Road] to Cowley Road I saw Mr Almeida crossing the road [to Yemane and Karimi]with a knife on his arm.

"He is about to stab one of them, Yemane or one of them.

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"He was in the corner and I was intending to go right and then I saw him crossing there, just before he got to those guys he [made a motion] about to stab.

"So I knocked him over with that car. He could have ended up stabbing one of them."

Asked if he thought then his friends could have been stabbed he said: "I was concerned, it just happened quickly, I thought he was going to kill one of them.

"That's what I thought, I thought their life was in danger so I just knocked him over in the car."

Asked about the unfolding violence in which prosecutors say Mr Almeida was chased up Southfield Road before being repeatedly stabbed, Solomon said he did not partake in the attack.

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He told jurors he drove up the road where he then saw a fight involving Mr Almeida, Yemane and Khalid.

Solomon added that he saw Khalid stabbing Mr Almeida.

He said: "I had my windows down, I said 'guys leave it, get in the car, get in the car, ' I did a U-turn.

"I said 'get in the car, get in the car' they didn't listen."

He said he then got out of the car, unarmed, to 'distract' Mr Almeida before shouting at Yemane 'stop, stop, stop' and holding his arms before dragging him away.

Solomon said they all then went back to the car before driving away.

Detailing the run-up to the alleged violence Solomon also told jurors that together with Yemane he had been dealing crack cocaine and heroin that night.

He described himself as the 'driver' in the operation while Yemane sold the drugs.

Solomon claimed that one of co-accused - Safeen Karimi - was his boss in the drug dealing operation.

He said that night Yemane had been robbed by a man - later believed to be Mr Almeida - and despite first wanting to go home he went to report to Karimi what had happened.

He told jurors he had only come back down Southfield Road before the alleged killing because he was asked to explain the earlier robbery.

The trial continues.