'Big, strong gangster' fantasies of defendant in Northampton teenager's murder trial heard in court

James Dodd says he was chased off from St George's Street by Liam and his friends. Less than 30 minutes later, Dodd returned with his co-defendants and Liam was stabbed to death.
James Dodd says he was chased off from St George's Street by Liam and his friends. Less than 30 minutes later, Dodd returned with his co-defendants and Liam was stabbed to death.

A defendant accused of sending "his boys" to attack a murdered Northampton teenager out of revenge has admitted he was leading a fantasy that he was some sort of gangster at the time.

James Dodd, 19, from Sentinel Road, Northampton, took the stand in the murder trial of Liam Hunt yesterday (April 5) to tell the jury any evidence they had heard so far that he was a violent person was just him trying to "big himself up" to his friends and act tough.

Liam Hunt, 17, died after he was stabbed in the neck in February last year.

Liam Hunt, 17, died after he was stabbed in the neck in February last year.

He also told the court he didn't even like his six co-defendants and they didn't like him - that they "wouldn't lift a finger" to help him.

It contradicts the prosecution's case against Dodd that he gathered his co-defendants and went looking for Liam after he was chased off by the teenager's friends.

Dodd told the court the others forced him to say where Liam and his friends were and threatened to beat him.

But defence barristers have hit back and said Dodd has been playing "the bullied nerd" to lessen his involvement in the killing. They suggested he resented his co-defendants and wanted to pass the blame on to them.

Seven young men were arrested following Liam's death. The trial has been running for over two months.

Seven young men were arrested following Liam's death. The trial has been running for over two months.

The court has heard how Dodd lost a drunken fist-fight with Liam two days before the fatal knife fight. He then messaged his friends the next day that his "boys will stab them when I find them".

"It was bad timing we didn't have our rambos [knives] on us at the time," another message read.

"But you don't have any boys, do you?" said Mr Richard Carey-Hughes QC for the defence. "It's a complete invention, painting yourself as a kind of gangster who can call on a gang to go and beat people up. Quite a fantasy isn't it?"

"Yes," said Dodd.

"But when you spoke to police, you told them you were forced to go... you reversed your fantasy that you were the big, strong gangster and you were a bullied little nerd," said Mr Carey-Hughes.

"I told [the police] the truth," said Dodd.

Another barrister, Mr Jo Sidhu QC, said: "You thought if you told the police what they wanted to hear then they wouldn't charge you with murder... you told them whatever you could to make yourself look innocent."

"I told them the truth," said Dodd.

The trial continues.