Steven John Johnson takes the stand in NSW Supreme Court for 2015 murder of Kenny Matthews in Tamworth

Street fight scene: Specialist forensic police examine the Bilkurra St unit in Tamworth in May, 2015 following Mr Matthews' death. Photo: Barry Smith

Street fight scene: Specialist forensic police examine the Bilkurra St unit in Tamworth in May, 2015 following Mr Matthews' death. Photo: Barry Smith

THE man standing trial for the bashing murder of an associate says he was under attack when the fight spilled onto a busy Tamworth road.

Steven John Johnson took the stand in the NSW Supreme Court in Tamworth and told the jury he was being grabbed on the legs by the victim, Kenny Matthews, and from the back.

Crown prosecutor Lee Carr submitted it was someone “trying to pull you off because you were belting him,” but Johnson denied it.

He is standing trial for the murder of 52-year-old Mr Matthews. The pair were allegedly involved in a punch-up that spilled onto Goonoo Goonoo Rd, South Tamworth, after a drinking session in a Bilkurra St unit on Friday May 15, 2015.

Mr Carr said he accepted Johnson “didn't intend to kill him but you intended to do him some serious harm”, but Johnson denied it.

The 39-year-old said he “feared for his safety”, telling the jury “it was like a giant all the people grabbing at me”.

“I was under attack,” he said.

Johnson told the jury he didn’t hear “a crunching sound” when two punches were thrown, despite a witness account.

He said Mr Matthews had a grip around his legs, and he admitted to stomping on him.

“I was being attacked by two people,” he said.

“I still don't to this day know who it was.”

He said Mr Matthews “didn’t bring any trouble into the house”, and didn’t make any threats.

Johnson told the jury he had “a good memory, a recollection of the event … better than anyone else”, despite his sister previously telling the court one litre of wine had probably been drunk.

He said Shannon Johnson had asked everyone to leave her unit and it was Mr Matthews making all the noise. When questioned, Johnson said he didn’t lose it or get too angry after telling Mr Matthews to leave.

“I've got hold of him out the front. He's pretty much fallen to the ground as I was holding him,” he told the jury.

He said he couldn’t recall Mr Matthews calling out for help. The trial continues before Justice Richard Button.

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