| 5.3°C Dublin

Uncle knifed teen to death in row over mobile phone

An uncle accused of stabbing his teenage nephew to death in a row over a phone had a history of attacking family members, his mother told a court today.

Alan Cooper, 32, knifed 14-year-old Jordan Cooper seven times in the chest in front of Susan Smith, who is the defendant's mother and the victim's grandmother.

The three lived together at her home in Tyne and Wear in Newcastle and Alan Cooper struck after a petty argument about his mobile, Newcastle Crown Court has heard.

The teenager had borrowed his uncle's phone to contact a girlfriend over the internet, and his uncle teased him he was going to get in touch with her later.

Around 11pm on February 28, Mrs Smith heard the pair arguing about the incident and she defused the row by getting Jordan to watch television with her in her room.

Moments later, in the dark, Alan Cooper came in and lunged at his nephew and the attack continued through the house in front of horrified Mrs Smith.

She frantically rang 999, saying: "Please help, my son's killing my grandson."

As paramedics took him away, fatally injured Jordan said: "I'm going to die, aren't I?"

Mrs Smith told the jury her son was a bully from a young age who attacked family members.

On one occasion, aged about 18, Alan Cooper "went mad", she said, and after lunging at her, he began to smash up her kitchen.

She said: "I phoned the police and he put his fist through the microwave and his foot through the oven door.

"Then he left before the police arrived."

She said she did not see her son for two years after that.

He also hit his sister's boyfriend and on another occasion went to attack his step-father, she said.

He also assaulted his brother Mark, who is just a year older, she said.

He was so difficult to control as a teenager she sent him into care as drink and drugs became part of his life.

Without alcohol, he was "a lovely lad", but with drink he was "the opposite", she said.

His mother said he had a history of inflicting domestic violence on his partners.

He admits killing his nephew but denies murder, on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mrs Smith said before Jordan's death, her son was facing a serious assault charge and that he was hoping to get a reduced sentence by taking medication for an attack he himself had suffered.

She said: "He thought if he was on medication and that he had problems it would lessen his sentence.

"If they thought he was ill he might not get a long sentence.

"He said he didn't like to go out on his own and he didn't like to be in crowds."

Asked by Christopher Knox, prosecuting, if it was true, she said: "No, because he used to go to his sister's and go to the Galleries (shopping centre) on his own."