A Kuwaiti man accused of murdering an Omani student near Harrods department store in London told his family he wanted to blame his friend for the attack, a court has heard.
Badir Al Nazi, 24, has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of student Mohammed Al Araimi, 20, who was stabbed to death in an alleyway in the affluent area of Knightsbridge on December 5 2019.
Al Araimi had been out for dinner and was walking with his friend Nasser Kanoo, now 22, when they were attacked from behind, Inner London Crown Court heard.
Mr Al Nazi and German national Arseboon Dilbaro, 23, are on trial charged with the murder of Al Araimi and wounding Mr Kanoo with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. They are also accused of attempting to rob the pair for their expensive watches.
He told the court a scuffle broke out when he went to confront Al Araimi for shouting an Arabic insult at him when he asked for a cigarette.
Jurors heard that Mr Al Nazi did not believe he stabbed the student but did remember hitting him twice with a knife in his hand during the eight-second brawl.
Mr Dilbaro was in a fight with Mr Kanoo at the same time, the court heard.
Mr Al Nazi told the court he remembered seeing blood on Mr Dilbaro's knife. He said that Mr Dilbaro had told him afterwards that he had stabbed someone.
“I was shocked, to be honest,” Mr Al Nazi said.
“I didn't know he had a knife on him. I didn't think he would stab him.”
But the court heard that Mr Al Nazi had told family members in calls from prison that he planned to blame Mr Dilbaro for Al Araimi's death.
He said it was his “intention” to tell police that he was there at the time of the incident but he did not hit Al Araimi, according to transcripts of the calls read out to the court.
“Your plan was to blame him for the killing, wasn't it?” Mr Dilbaro's barrister, Paul Keleher QC, said.
“I had the idea but did I say I had done it?” Mr Al Nazi said.
The transcripts showed that Mr Al Nazi also told his family that he was innocent and it was simply a case of mistaken identity, the court heard.
“At the time I believed I was innocent,” he said, adding that he didn't want to worry his family.
“I had no intention to kill and, to me, that is innocent.”
But Mr Keleher said: “You were keeping all options open, including saying you weren't there at all, plan A, and plan B, putting it all on Mr Dilbaro.”
Mr Al Nazi said he now accepts that he killed Al Araimi but he did so accidentally.
“I'm not hiding anything,” he said.
When asked how he felt about Al Araimi's death, he broke down in tears.
“When he ask me if I feel bad, of course. I never expected to kill anyone. It is something I am going to live with,” he said.
“Whenever I remember Al Araimi I burst into tears. It is something I cannot control.”
The trial continues.