Cambridge stabbing: Abdul Korim Ali denies James Cromwell murder

James Cromwell Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption James Cromwell died of a stab wound to the heart on 30 June, Cambridge Crown Court heard

A man stabbed a childhood friend in the heart because he believed he was "stealing customers" in a drugs turf war, a court has heard.

Witnesses heard Abdul Korim Ali, 25, and victim James Cromwell arguing in Darwin Drive, Cambridge, on 30 June.

Mr Cromwell, 27, collapsed in nearby Stretten Avenue, and later died in hospital of a single stab wound, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Mr Ali denies murder and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

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David Jeremy, QC, prosecuting, said the men had known each other since primary school, and had "friends... and drugs in common".

Image caption Mr Cromwell collapsed in Stretten Avenue, Cambridge

The court heard Mr Cromwell and another friend, Shuhan Shahid, had made their way to Darwin Drive - where Mr Ali lived - at about 22:30 BST after drinking and taking drugs.

Mr Shahid, via video link, said he knew both from childhood and described them as "good friends".

He said the plan had been to buy cannabis, before Mr Ali and Mr Cromwell, of Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge, began arguing.

Mr Shahid said he heard shouting and saw the men "face to face", believing at first it was "just banter".

'Loyalties divided'

The jury heard Mr Ali accused Mr Cromwell of "being really slow at getting money in and killing the line off" - a reference, Mr Jeremy said, to "drug-dealing by phone".

Mr Shahid said Mr Ali "threw a single punch", and that Mr Cromwell had thrown a pint glass.

Mr Jeremy warned the jury that the "loyalties of the witnesses will be divided" but that the "truth has a way of emerging".

Image caption The court heard drugs formed the "backdrop for murder"

Mr Ali's brother Abdul Salam Ali, 24, is also accused of perverting the course of justice and intimidating a witness.

The trial is expected to last four weeks.

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