The judge in the trial of a 43-year-old man accused of murder has started summing up the case to the jury.

Before Ipswich Crown Court is Jay Cotterill, who has denied murdering 37-year-old Ipswich man Richard Hunt in the garden of a bungalow at Sutton Heath near Woodbridge in October last year.

He has also denied an alternative charge of manslaughter and assaulting Mr Hunt’s former partner Stephanie Harvey, causing her actual bodily harm.

Cotterill wasn't present during Judge Levett's summing up on Tuesday but the judge said it was hoped he would be present at the conclusion of his summing up on Wednesday.

During the three-week trial, the court has heard that on the night of the alleged murder Mr Hunt and Ms Harvey had driven to the bungalow in Sutton Heath where Cotterill lived with his partner Debbie Cotterill-Williams.

The scene in Sutton HeathThe scene in Sutton Heath (Image: Newsquest)

Prior to the visit there had been an exchange of threatening texts and phone calls between Mr Hunt and Cotterill after Ms Cotterill-Williams found text messages on Cotterill’s phone between him and Ms Harvey.

Ms Harvey had decided to deliver a card wishing Ms Cotterill-Williams luck in her relationship with Cotterill and was driven to Sutton Heath by Mr Hunt, who she’d been in a 13-year relationship before they split up seven years ago.

Giving evidence, she said that after she left the card at the front door Mr Hunt had used a baseball bat that had been in the back of the car to bang on windows of the property and she also saw him throw a scooter on to a roof.

Ms Harvey said Cotterill had come out in his boxer shorts and there had been a fight between the two men during which Mr Hunt was stabbed seven times.

Giving evidence Cotterill, who is accused of stabbing Mr Hunt seven times, said that earlier in the day Mr Hunt had threatened to shoot him and he had taken that threat seriously.

He said that when Mr Hunt had turned up at his bungalow in Ipswich Avenue, Sutton Heath, at night with Ms Harvey and started banging on windows with a baseball bat he had been terrified and had picked up a kitchen knife to scare him off.

He claimed that Mr Hunt, who lived in Ipswich, had hit him over the head with the baseball  bat and had then taken his head in his hands and bit his nose.

Cotterill claimed he had stabbed Mr Hunt in self-defence: “It’s an open and shut case. I was protecting myself and my family."

He said a fatal stab wound to Mr Hunt’s chest happened when Mr Hunt’s former partner Stephanie Harvey jumped on his (Cotterill’s) back, “propelling” him forward causing the knife to enter Mr Hunt’s chest.

Cross-examined by prosecution counsel Andrew Jackson, Cotterill denied “trying to fit a case to the evidence”.