A SELF-CONFESSED Workington criminal with a cocaine addiction said he feared he would be thrown into a van, taken to Liverpool, and killed by drug dealers.

Tony Joynes, 41, made the claim as he gave evidence in his trial at Carlisle Crown Court, where he denies intentionally attacking a couple late at night with a knife and an axe. The prosecution says he went to the couple’s home in Coniston Drive just after midnight on August 21 last year to attack them .

But Joynes has insisted he acted in self-defence.

Wearing a head-covering snood, he had arrived at the couple’s back door armed with an axe and a knife. As he gave evidence, Joynes readily admitted to being a “criminal” who was addicted to cocaine.

Earlier, the court heard that the defendant’s criminal record includes convictions for burglaries, assaults and robberies, including one that involved serious violence.

“I’ve always pleaded guilty when I’m guilty,” he told the court.

Despite leaving Lee Iceton and his partner Colleen McCrickard with stab wounds, he had gone to their Workington home to buy cocaine from Mr Iceton, not to attack them, said Joynes.

In his evidence, Mr Iceton insisted that at the time he had no involvement with illegal drugs, despite having previously served a jail term for a drugs offence.

Brendan Burke, for Joynes, said that police had warned him people from Merseyside planned to use firearms to cause him “significant harm”. When Joynes told police he “didn’t give a damn about the scousers”, he was trying to be a big man, he said.

Joynes said: “I was chased three days before by lads with samurai swords and machetes; and that’s how I cut my hands, jumping over a barbed wire fence.” Liverpool drug “firms” were competing for business in Workington, he said.

Asked why they had a problem with him, he said: “I robbed them, the scousers.” He said this meant he failed to pay for drugs. “I took their money and drugs off them.” Joynes said when Mr Iceton opened his door to him on August 21, he had mentioned the scousers being after him. “He just jumped on me,” said Joynes.

He carried an axe and a knife for protection, and wore the snood so he would not be recognised by the scousers who were after him, he said. “I wasn’t expecting anyone to jump me,” he said. He believed three or four people were attacking him.

“I just remember being on the floor: I’m being choked, I’m being punched; a Buddha thing was whacked over my head… I thought I was getting thrown in a van, taken away to Merseyside; to Liverpool, to kill me.

“I’ve already been told I’m dead.”

Under cross examination, Joynes accepted serving 11 years in jail for burgling the home of a 78-year-old man. He tied a telephone cord around the pensioner’s neck and stabbed him with a screwdriver, and then attacked his wife, said prosecutor Geoffrey Lowe. “I was on drugs and didn’t realise what I did,” said Joynes.

“I might be a criminal but I don’t lie.”

He had taken drugs all his life after being injected at 14, he said.

“So my life has been one catastrophe after another,” he said. He had weapons in August because his life was in danger, he said.

Explaining the violence, he added: “I was jumped that night.” Joynes denies intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Iceton and intentionally wounding Ms McCrickard. The judge will today sum up the evidence and ask the jury to consider verdicts.