A GANG member accused of murdering a man in a botched cannabis raid insisted in court he never stabbed anyone.

Leon Wright gave evidence at his trial at Basildon Crown Court over a raid on a cannabis farm in Westcliff that left a man dead.

The 31-year-old, along with five other men, is accused of murdering Asqeri Spaho while trying to steal £50,000 worth of cannabis from a home in Tintern Avenue on December 12, 2019.

The jury heard that Wright had been told he and the five other men would get half of the cannabis in the home.

The other half would go to another man who supplied them with a ladder to get into the flat from the back.

Wright said he went in the flat first, armed with a sword, which he claims was purely for cutting the cannabis, before going to the lounge.

He said: “As soon as I got there I was hit with something. I was hit three times in total.

“I felt scared, disoriented and irritated, it was a shock.

“I pulled the knife out from my waist and I swung it side-to-side saying to whoever it was to get back.”

Wright claimed he never took the sword from out of its sheathe and that it “didn’t connect” with anyone. He said the people inside the home then forced him to the floor.

He said: “They tried to choke me but I managed to get out. I’m running out of the lounge and I’m getting chased by the people in the house.

“On the landing one ripped me down. I told them to back off, they backed off, and I left out of the bathroom.”

Wright said he had fled and waited in a park nearby until 7am, where he bought a drink from a shop and used a payphone to call a lift.

Mr Spaho died from stab wounds in the property, while another man escaped by jumping out of the front window.

Henry Grunwald, representing Wright, said: “Did you cause the murder of that man?”

Wright said “no”, adding: “There was no conversation of violence or nothing.”

Wright, of Highbury New Park, Mitchell Harris, 29, of no fixed address, Scott Heaney 22, of Hurlock Street, Highbury, Brian Kinloch, 31, of Beachcroft Way, Upper Holloway, Wesley Hendrickson, 31, of Ashford Crescent in Enfield and Durald Sokoli, 27, of Ayley Croft, Enfield, deny murder, attempted murder and aggravated burglary.

The trial continues.