‘I’ve destroyed everything, but I’m not a murderer.’

That was the plea from the man accused of murdering 77-year-old David Allen in his Elgar Road home on the morning of December 1, 2021. 

Jacob Trussler, of no fixed abode, gave evidence from the witness box for the first time at his trial yesterday (Tuesday, May 24). 

A jury heard how the man 37-year-old accepted responsibility for the death of ‘Uncle Dave’, but denied intending to kill him. 

‘I loved him to bits’

Visibly shaking, Trussler first faced questions from defence barrister Timothy Raggatt QC. 

The defendant was asked to give information about himself and his relationship with David Allen. 

He told the jury: “I’ve battled with a drug addiction for a long time.”

The court heard how he had taken crack, cocaine and heroin for more than ten years. 

The 37-year-old said he was five years old when he first met David Allen, who he knew as ‘Fishy’. 

He said he saw a lot of him when he was younger as he was a friend of his father’s. 

“I loved him to bits. He done a lot for me”, the defendant told the jury. 

“He helped me out. I used to go round there for dinner. If I needed help he would always help me, he done a better job than my dad did.”

Trussler said Allen gave him clothes and money and would let him borrow his car. 

The defendant said he had nothing against Mr Allen. 

‘It happened so quick’

Questions then turned to the day Mr Allen died, on December 1, 2021. 

On the day of Mr Allen’s death, Trussler said he had taken a number of co-codamol tablets for pain in his foot. 

The defendant said David Allen was not a morning person and he was “miserable.”

“He was having a go at me”, Trussler said when asked how Allen greeted him. 

The court heard how a ‘build-up of things’, such as Trussler spending Allen’s errand money on drugs and denting the victim’s car, irritated the victim.

‘I do a lot for you and all you do is take the piss all the time’, Mr Allen allegedly told Trussler that morning. 

Mr Allen started shouting at Trussler, the court heard, telling him he ‘didn’t want him around anymore.’

According to the defendant, he turned around and was confronted at the kitchen sink by Mr Allen, who was holding a knife in his hand. 

Asked how he reacted, Trussler said: ‘Fight or flight came in. I grabbed him and we tussled. We fell on the floor, the table went over and cups went in the air.’

‘It happened so quick. We were wrestling on the floor and I managed to get it [the knife] off him. That’s how it happened, I’m not a murderer, I don’t go around killing people, he pulled the knife on me. 

‘I’ve got to live with all this, I’ve destroyed my family, I’ve destroyed everything, but I’m not a murderer.’

Trussler said he did not know how Mr Allen’s stab wounds were caused. 

Trussler became tearful as he was asked to recall how Mr Allen was ‘not moving’ on the floor. 

‘Dad’s going to go mad’

Mr Raggatt’s questioning finished with enquiries about Trussler’s movements after Mr Allen was stabbed. 

Trussler told the jury he took Mr Allen’s coat as he left his house ‘as it was freezing’. 

He also took his car keys as his ankle was ‘throbbing’ in pain and subsequently took the victim’s car, driving it to near his brother’s house. 

When asked how he told his half-brother of the incident, the defendant said: ‘I said Barry, ‘I f***** up Dave, he pulled a knife on me and I took it off him. It’s not going to be alright, Dad’s going to go mad’’.

The defendant said he was ‘sniffing cocaine’ and ‘smoking heroin’ at his sibling’s house, as well as smoking weed.

Mr Raggatt finished by asking Trussler what he did when Mr Allen confronted him with a knife. 

The defendant responded: “I was scared, I defended myself. 

‘I would never hurt him. I’m no angel, I’ve got a drug addiction, I accept responsibility for his death but I’m not a murderer and I don’t go round killing people in cold blood.’

‘I’ve got to live with what I’ve done’

Trussler also took questions from prosecutor Graham Smith. 

‘I owed him £500. I think he’d had enough’, Trussler said responding to a question about how much he owed Mr Allen.

Mr Smith said Trussler was found in possession of £400 in £50 notes when he was arrested on December 2. 

Trussler said he did not give Mr Allen this money as he ‘wanted to buy drugs.’

The defendant said he did not offer Mr Allen the cash when he allegedly pulled a knife on him as ‘it all happened so quick.’

He later denied taking any of the money found on his person from Mr Allen. 

‘You have fabricated this account, haven’t you? You’ve made it up to give some sort of explanation’, Mr Smith put it to Trussler. 

Trussler denied this. 

The defendant appeared to get irritable when Mr Smith asked him a question in the middle of an answer, saying, ‘the jury needs to hear the truth, they’ve got my life in their hands.’

When asked about the stab wounds Mr Allen suffered, Trussler said this must have been caused when he fell on the victim. 

‘I did not mean him any harm, that was not on my mind. I wouldn’t do anything like that.

‘I loved him. All of the stuff he done for me, do you think I would do that?’

Trussler then asked Mr Smith to explain to the jury what murder is, only to be told by Her Honour Judge Norton that this was her job. 

The accused said he was not sure how the knife came out of Mr Allen’s chest. 

‘You overpowered him and stabbed that old man to death, didn’t you?’, Mr Smith asked Trussler. 

‘No’, the defendant said. 

‘He got stabbed because I defended himself. I did not go round there with a knife. But I’ve got to live with what I’ve done. The fact is, he lost his life.’

Asked why he didn’t call an ambulance for Mr Allen, Trussler said: ‘I was completely off my face and I was in shock.’

‘I made a mistake’, Trussler said later in questioning about this point.

When asked why he put the knife in the sink after the altercation, the defendant said: ‘If I was covering something up I would have taken the knife with me, it’s common sense.’

‘I loved this guy, he was like a second dad. I’m not a sick individual, I wouldn’t go round and murder somebody in cold blood’, Trussler re-iterated in conclusion. 

‘He was my uncle Dave and I didn’t want him to die.’

The trial continues.