Mehmet Degerli murder trial: Victim 'pulled knife on man accused of killing him', court hears
PUBLISHED: 16:33 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:30 13 December 2016
A man accused of killing his estranged wife's lover in a Dalston car park claims the stab victim had pulled a knife on him earlier that evening.
Huseyin Akkoyun, 47, told jurors at Southwark Crown Court how Mehmet Degerli “snapped” while they were in a car driven by Akkoyun’s nephew Mustafa Alparslan, 21.
Giving evidence via a Turkish interpreter, he described how they started hitting each other as he tried to wrestle the weapon away.
The last time he saw his friend of 15 years was in Sandringham Road, Dalston, where Alparsan dropped him off, it was said. Mr Degerli’s nose was bleeding, Akkoyun told jurors, but he “was on his feet”, walking to his car.
But Mr Degerli’s body was found less then an hour later by a passer-by in a small car park nearby and he was pronounced dead just before 2am on June 8.
Akkoyun, of no fixed address, and Alparslan, of Remington Road, Stoke Newington, are accused of strangling and running over Mr Degerli. Both deny murder.
Mr Degerli, 49, met Akkoyun’s wife Semra Yumak in secret earlier that evening. Akkoyun claims he had no idea his wife and his friend were having an affair.
Akkoyun told jurors he was waiting outside Ms Yumak’s home to try and gather evidence on a camcorder that she had “abandoned” their four children home alone, which he said would give him grounds to file for divorce and get custody of them.
When asked how he felt about his children by barrister Bernard Richmond QC, Akkoyun broke down in tears. “Whatever I suffered was because of my kids,” he said. “All I wanted was to protect my children. She would always leave my children in the home and go out.”
He described how Ms Yumak booted him out of their family home in Cecelia Road in April for “not pulling his weight”, restricting his access to the children.
The former factory worker and minicab driver said rather than jealousy he felt “happiness he might finally be able to get the evidence he needed” when he saw another man, who he claims he did not recognise, get into Semra’s car in Sandringham Road at 10.30pm that night.
He took a photo of the man’s car and slashed the tyres “to make sure he could not leave without him recording him”, he said.
He then asked his nephew to join him there so they could capture the moment Semra and the man returned on a camcorder, he told the jury.
But, he added, when she pulled up “bumper to bumper” with the car they were both in, he couldn’t switch on the recording device in time.
Akkoyun described how he then went to his own car and found Mr Degerli in the street, who allegedly told him he had accompanied Ms Yumak while she did some translation work at someone’s house.
He said Mr Degerli demanded the video cassette, believing it contained evidence of their meeting.
“Semra had threatened to kill herself if she lost her kids and her house was taken away,” Akkoyun said.
Akkoyun claimed he made a deal to give Mr Degerli the cassette if they could first visit the house where his wife had allegedly been doing translation work.
As they were driving, Mr Degerli “snapped”, started swearing and told Alparslan to “turn around” before pulling out a “closed” knife.
“I grabbed the knife from his hand,” said Akkoyun. “I said: ‘Have you gone mad? What are you trying to do?’ I was really surprised.
“Before he opened the knife in the beginning I was hitting him on his shoulder. After he opened the knife I stopped choosing – I don’t know where I was hitting him. He was hitting my shoulder and my chest. I cannot guess in terms of numbers how many times I hit him.”
The trial continues.