A MAN accused of murdering a workmate borrowed a shotgun from his dad because he feared for his life, a court heard.

Darren Jewell, 36, of John Street, Brightlingsea, said colleague Anthony Prickett told him: “One more evening and you’re dead.”

Jewell shot Mr Prickett, 42, twice when he arrived to pick him up in Park Road, St Osyth, last May. Jewell told Chelmsford Crown Court problems started after workers were sacked from his father’s firm, Bulat Roofing in Walton.

Jewell said he suspected a link with sacked workers when tyres on his mum’s car were slashed. He said he was followed at least three times by unknown people and on one occasion, the driver made a throat-cutting gesture. Mr Prickett had been friends with those sacked. Jewell said Mr Prickett made comments that appeared to be threats about knowing people who could be hired to carry out violence.

Jewell said: “I felt there was a serious threat towards me. I had trouble concentrating on work and was not sleeping properly.” When Jewell dropped Mr Prickett off the previous night, Jewell stated Mr Prickett had said: “One more evening and you’re dead.’’ Later, Jewell told his dad he wanted a gun for protection. Jewell said: “He was reluctant because he’s a responsible gun owner. He said ‘take it, but for Christ’s sake don’t use it. If you must use it, fire into the air.”

That night, Jewell said he sat on the stairs at home with the loaded shotgun. He left home with the shotgun at about 4.30am and drove to collect Mr Prickett for a roofing job in London.

Jewell said: “He was looking at me. All this was going round in my head and I could not control it any more. I got out and discharged the shotgun.” He said he could not cope and could not see a way out.

Jewell said he was about six metres from Mr Prickett when he fired the first shot. “He went over and I discharged the second.’’ Jewell said he did not intend to kill Mr Prickett, but could not control the gun. Jewell denies murder. The trial continues.