A schoolboy murder suspect told a court there seemed no other option but to kill his mother’s boyfriend.
Jerome Ellis, 14, is on trial along with his brother, Joshua, 23, accused of the murder of 54-year-old Neil Tulley in Surrey last year.
Mr Tulley was found dead on August 13 at the house in Cedar Way, Guildford, that he shared with the defendants’ mother, Marie Ellis.
The pair do not deny the killing but claim they suffered a loss of control which led to the attack, the Surrey Advertiser reported.
Joshua Ellis also claims a defence of diminished responsibility due to his mental health .
Jerome Ellis gave evidence on Friday (February 21), telling Guildford Crown Court he was thrown out of his father’s home in January 2012.
He went to his mother’s house to stay with her and his brother, but an argument ensued which led to Neil Tulley being charged with the attempted murder of Joshua Ellis.
“Josh and my mum were happy we were there but Neil didn’t want us to live there or to stay there.
“He told my mother that we shouldn’t stay there.”
Jerome described how Mr Tulley went to the shed and fetched an axe. He said Mr Tulley swung it at Joshua saying he was going to kill him.
“I was in the same room,” said Jerome. “They were right there.”
The youngster described how his brother managed to block the swing and the axe was grappled from Mr Tulley’s hands and passed to Jerome by his mother.
The first thing the teenager knew about Mr Tulley’s acquittal on the attempted murder charge was when he returned to the house – first sleeping in the shed and then on the sofa.
“How did you feel about Neil Tulley, the man you gave evidence against, moving back in with your mother?” Jerome’s defence counsel, Mark Wyeth, asked him.
Jerome said he felt like they “were all in danger” and that Mr Tulley was often drunk and aggressive.
During that period, teachers at George Abbot School noticed Jerome was going hungry and gave him food, as well as money for clothes, the court heard.
The school also recorded that he was a young carer for his mother and his siblings.
On August 13 last year, two days after Jerome’s 14th birthday, Mr Tulley’s body was discovered on the sofa at their home.
Jerome said that, during the night, he was playing on his Xbox in his room when Joshua came in and told him what had happened during an argument his mother had with Mr Tulley.
“He told me he [Mr Tulley] said he was going to get his axe, after they had had an argument,” said Jerome.
“He told me that he was going to get the axe that he had in the shed.”
Jerome said that about a week earlier he had unscrewed the lock on the shed because he was worried about what was in there, and discovered the axe had been returned to Mr Tulley.
“After Josh told me that Neil had done that, he told me we had to get him,” said Jerome.
He said he agreed and that it seemed the only option because Mr Tulley was a threat to everyone in the family.
“We went to the kitchen and we took two knives from the drawer and we attacked him,” he told jurors.
The body was found the next day on the sofa with more than 60 knife wounds.
Jerome told the court he was not thinking properly, that the events were a blur, and claimed the pair immediately fled the house.
For the prosecution, Philip Katz put it to Jerome that he could remember the events more clearly than he claimed.
“You must have realised, when you looked at him lying on the sofa like that, that actually he was no threat at all,” he said.
“Not at that specific moment, no,” replied Jerome.
“What, so you just went over and stuck the knife in him?” asked Mr Katz.
Jerome said: “We just went and attacked him.”
The defendants deny murder and the trial continues.