Murder accused `snapped after the years of abuse'
Stepdad stabbed seven times
"I'VE lost my temper and just snapped after all the years of abuse."
Those were the words of Darren Gregson as he told a Leeds Crown Court murder trial about the moments before he stabbed his stepfather seven times.
Gregson, 30, is accused of murdering Mark Berry at the family home on Spring Bank Drive, Norristhorpe, Liversedge, on June 3.
He has pleaded not guilty to murder.
The former gardener took to the witness box yesterday, the fourth day of his trial.
He told the jury of six men and six women that he had no recollection of the incident in which his stepfather was fatally stabbed through the heart.
Gregson's barrister, Douglas Hogg QC, asked him what could have provoked him to knife his stepfather.
Gregson said: "That I was provoked, not just on the day but over many years and on that day." He said he was "devastated" at what had happened.
Gregson added: "It's not a very nice feeling to have inside you. I will have to live with that for the rest of my life."
He told the court he was "frequently" verbally abused by his alcoholic stepfather.
He added: "It was a form of bullying. He wouldn't hit me, because I'd probably hit him back. It was mental abuse."
Gregson told the court he had very little recollection of the day he had killed Mr Berry.
He said: "The only thing I remember about the whole day is going downstairs."
He said his next memory was of calling his sister after the attack, but he couldn't remember what he said. He added: "All I remember is the police and I was stood with them and they had handcuffs on me."
Gregson said Mr Berry must have abused him to spark the attack.
He added: "The only thing is he would have been having a go at me and I've lost my temper and just snapped after all the years of abuse."
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Andrew Campbell QC he said that despite Mr Berry beating his mother, his stepfather had never laid a finger on him.
Gregson, who was three times the legal drink-drive limit when arrested, denied having a drink problem. He said: "I don't think I have a drink problem. I just liked a drink."
Gregson also admitted telling police that he said he had a knife in his hand at the time to cut the plastic wrapping off a pizza.
Mr Campbell said Gregson had already eaten his meal. He told Gregson: "You must have eaten it before any incident between you and Mark, so you wouldn't have needed that carving knife in your hand would you."
Gregson replied: "No."
In the prosecution's closing statement Mr Campbell said: "There are two people who know what happened in the living-room of 38a Spring Bank Drive. One, unhappily, is dead and the other maintains he cannot remember anything about it."
Mr Campbell said that whatever unpleasant details they had heard about Mr Berry - who had twice been convicted of beating his wife, Gregson's mother, Gillian - the attack on him was out of proportion.
He added: "There is nothing in the history that could justify the response."
In his closing statement Mr Hogg said it was likely that the jury would find that Gregson killed his stepfather.
But he said that to find Gregson guilty of murder, rather than manslaughter, they must be sure he was not provoked and that he intended to seriously harm Mr Berry.
He added: "The plain truth is that life with Mark Berry was horrendous."
The trial continues.