A 55-year-old man has denied trying to murder his elderly father in their east Belfast home after losing his temper over a mobile phone.
Alan Lockhead also denied intentionally wounding his mother, who sustained two slash wounds whilst trying to get a kitchen knife from his grip, saying her injuries were “a pure accident”.
Lockhead is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court on two charges arising from an incident in the kitchen of the family home in Ballyhackamore last March.
He denies attempting to murder his father and wounding his mother with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm.
Desmond Lockhead, 74, said his son tried to strangle him with a mobile phone charger lead before stabbing him twice in the head, while his mother said she was injured trying to disarm her son.
Lockhead, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, rejected most of his parents’ account of what occurred at around 6.30am on March 22 last year.
The jury has already heard that Lockhead had been living in London for 16 years prior to the violent incident, had returned to Belfast due to mental health issues, and was due to fly back to London the day he is alleged to have stabbed both his parents.
He said he had been in Belfast for around 10 days and had been seeking rented accommodation as he planned to come back for good.
Questioned by his barrister Charles MacCreanor QC, Lockhead was asked what had happened the evening before the incident.
The defendant said he had words with his parents about his two grown-up chidren, as they told him he wasn’t their biological father.
He said he couldn’t understand why they were saying things to hurt him, so he went to bed around 9pm.
He was then quizzed about what happened in the kitchen the following morning.
Lockhead claimed he had words with his father, who was sitting watching TV and eating his breakfast, about a mobile phone they had given him which he couldn’t get to work.
He said his father called him stupid as he had shown him how to work it on several occasions, then his father told him ‘I don’t know how you are getting to the airport. You may f*****g walk.’
When asked what he did next, Lockhead said: “I walked behind him with the phone charger lead and put it around his head and pulled him back in the chair.” And when asked by Mr MacCreanor “why did you do that?”, Lockhead replied: “I wanted the truth about everything – the phone, my kids. Everything that he said.”
Denying that he pulled his father on to the floor, Lockhead said he pulled the chair backwards and when the lead snapped, his father jumped from the chair and lunged at him.
He continued: “As he came forward, I moved back. It happened in seconds. I lifted the knife from the chopping board.”
When he was asked why he lifted a knife, Lockhead said: “Just a reaction I suppose. To scare him, I suppose.”
When asked to explain what happened next, Lockhead said: “My father jumped on me and pulled me to the ground. He has his two knees on my chest and he was holding my arms. I started to struggle with him, by trying to force him to get off me.”
Mr MacCreanor then asked how his father sustained the wounds to his head, with Lockhead replying: “I hit him with the knife with my hand. I hit him on the head.”
He was also asked to explain the injuries to his mother’s arm. Mrs Lockhead was woken from her sleep by her husband’s calls for help, and was wounded while getting the knife off her son.
When Lockhead was asked about wounding her with intent, Lockhead said: “I never, ever, ever, never did I ever intend to hurt my mother. It was by pure accident. She came down and got in the road, basically.”
Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Robin Steer, Lockhead was questioned about the row both the night before, and the row with his father about the mobile phone.
Admitting that he suffered from paranoia, Lockhead said that despite being shown how to use the mobile, he believed his father had done something to it.
When Mr Steer suggested to Lockhead that he lost his temper and attacked his father over a phone, he answered: “It was not just about the phone. The phone was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Rejecting a suggestion he lost his temper, but admitting he was “a bit angry”, Lockhead said he picked up the knife as he felt his father was going to “start swinging punches”.