A former Cardiff City footballer accused of stabbing a man in the back has claimed he was not carrying a knife at the time of the alleged attack, a court has heard.
Ibrahim Meite, 25, who also played for League Two side Crawley Town and had a trial with 2016 Premier League Champions Leicester City, allegedly stabbed Rio Amos, 24, in Putney, south London, on the morning of September 12, 2019.
Amos is said to have then produced a larger blade and stabbed Meite after he fell over while running from the scene, the court heard.
But the footballer told Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday February 9, that he never had a knife and only intended to punch Amos ‘to wind him’.
Meite said he had come across Amos by chance when driving with Leon Hughes, 33, and wanted to ‘clear the air’ after ‘a dispute’ involving a girl in a nightclub which ended in ‘pushing and shoving’.
The court heard both stepped out of the vehicle before Meite walked towards Amos and allegedly struck him moments later.
Meite told the court: ‘I did not have a knife or blade – 100 per cent. I’m certain of that.
‘I had my car keys in my hand and I had nothing sharp.’
When asked about a wound to Amos’ back, he added: ‘When I hit him I felt something very hard, he has already pleaded guilty to having multiple knives that day.’
Meite continued: ‘My intention was to wind Mr Amos after he was being rude for no apparent reason.’
Amos claimed he was acting in self-defence when he chased Meite and stabbed him.
The court heard how he was carrying two knives for protection after being told people were out to get him, but said he did not know why and denied there had been a dispute in a nightclub.
He told the jury: ‘I heard that there were people looking for me, since I heard they were looking for me that’s the only time I was carrying a knife with me.’
He claimed he pulled one of the knives from his waistband after seeing a knife in Meite’s hand following the first strike to his back.
Explaining why he chased Meite and stabbed him, he said: ‘He keeps looking back to see if I’m coming after him. I think if I turn around then he’s going to chase me instead.’
He added: ‘He had his arm in my face, I had just been stabbed by him, to me he was still a threat.’
During the incident, Meite sustained four wounds, including one to his chest, his wrist, his thumb, and thigh, the court heard.
Following the incident, both men were treated at St George’s Hospital.
Hughes, who was with Meite at the time of the alleged incident, is accused of helping the footballer carry out an attack.
Meite, of Roehampton, and Hughes, of Merton, both in south-west London, deny wounding with intent, an alternative charge of unlawful wounding, and possession of a knife.
Hughes further denies two charges of perverting the course of justice over allegations he moved Meite’s car, disposed of the knife and gave a false account to police.
Amos, of Wandsworth, south-west London, denies wounding with intent and an alternative charge of unlawful wounding.
The jury was told he previously admitted to separately possessing a knife at the scene and at the hospital.
The trial continues.