A MURDER suspect appeared in the witness box to deny stabbing his great uncle to death in a 'frenzy of drunken hatred' following a family feud.

Adam Mason gave evidence at Worcester Crown Court yesterday where he denied stabbing 80-year-old Desmond Wooding to death at his home in Vines Lane, Droitwich.

The 33-year-old former Royal Logistic Corps solider and groundsman had been drinking in the Gardeners Arms pub, near the pensioner's home in Vines Lane, on the day of the murder. Mason is accused of stabbing Mr Wooding 11 times at his home on June 23 last year. Adam Mason's uncle, Mark Mason, 55, of Plough Lane, Tibberton, denies assisting an offender by driving the suspect from the scene. When asked by his barrister, David Mason QC, if he felt any animosity or anger towards Mr Wooding, Adam Mason said he did not and had not seen the pensioner for 16 years, last meeting him at the victim's then home in Ombersley Street. He said he did not know Mr Wooding had moved to Vines Lane until after the pensioner was killed, learning of his address after reading about it in the paper.

Adam Mason has previous convictions for criminal damage in January 2005 and April 2006, drink driving from January 2016 and two battery offences at the Bridge Inn in Tibberton from March 2016 following a row over a broken toilet seat. Mason told the jury that the jeans seized by officers from the wardrobe of his then home in Trehearn Road, Droitwich were the same he had been seen wearing on CCTV footage taken in Vines Lane on the day of the murder (police say the jeans and trainers have never been found).

Mason said he could identify the jeans because of a rip in the crotch which happened when he fell through the door of his home that evening.

Mason, who was with his German Shepherd Savvy, told the jury he had drunk 13 or 14 pints of Thatchers Haze cider and two of three double JD and coke before leaving the pub at 8.42pm, 'very drunk' and 'stumbling all over the place'.

CCTV footage showed Mason kicking a bin and punching two pint glasses in the pub's beer garden which he said was 'just a stupid game'.

He told the jury he was leaning against a wall of the pub car park in the 20 minutes after he left the pub. When asked why he had not referred to that in his police interview he said: "It's the stress of being charged with a murder you haven't committed."

Mason flew out to Tenerife with his partner two days after the murder and was arrested at Birmingham Airport when he returned home 12 days later.

Adrian Keeling QC, prosecuting, put it to Mason that his grandfather and grandmother, Colin and Barbara Mason, who had raised him, had fallen out with Mr Wooding over his treatment of Colin Mason's sister (Mr Wooding's partner, Mo) while she had cancer. She has since died. "You all hated him" said Mr Keeling.

Mason replied: "I never knew him so I couldn't hate him." Mr Keeling said: "You have got quite a nasty streak in you when you're drinking haven't you? You've got a bit of a temper." Mason replied 'no'.

"Did you go into the kitchen and pick up a blade and attack Mr Wooding? Did you slash and stab him in a frenzy of drunken hatred?"