A man who stabbed his neighbour through his car window in a row over parking lost all memory of the attack after he “just saw red”, a court has heard.

Lee Francis, 38, is accused of trying kill his neighbour Darpo Clarke after the victim arrived at his home in Lincoln Road from holiday to find Francis’ car parked in his driveway.

The two neighbours are said to have fought outside the home before Mr Clarke retreated to his car, only for Francis to follow him and “repeatedly” stab him through the passenger seat window.

Francis has admitted causing grievous bodily harm, but denies trying to kill Mr Clarke in the attack.

In his closing statement of the trial at Kingston Crown Court, defence counsel Kerim Fuad told the jury Francis was “ashamed” of his actions, but it was simply “an act in anger”. 

During the trial, Mr Francis told jurors he “wishes he never remembers” the incident when being questioned.

Mr Fuad said: “He is ashamed - you may think - and he will carry this with him for the rest of his life.

“He is not someone who for a second, ladies and gentleman, sat there and smirked or has been pleased with what has happened – and that is why I said to you it was never a ‘whodunnit’.

“There is a big difference [between trying to kill] and it is that elephant in the room.”

Mr Fuad pointed to evidence, including testimonies from neighbours, given during the trial showing that Francis and Mr Clarke had in fact been friends in the months leading up the incident.

He even read a definition of the term ‘friends’ from an Oxford dictionary as evidence of the pair’s closeness.

The court heard that the two neighbours would drink together, play Playstation games and even attended family parties at each other’s homes.

Mr Clarke denied such a friendship existed while being cross-examined during the trial.

Mr Fuad said: “Darpo is no fool and we know he has experience in giving evidence. His answers on this I suggest were rather foolish.

“This friendship was not once challenged by the prosecution in the cross examination of Lee Francis or [Francis’ partner] Jill Webber. It is a fact that they were friends.

“It’s the weak link, the illogical Achilles heel in the prosecution’s case.”

The defence argued that it was in fact Mr Clarke who initiated the row between the pair when he and his partner Melanie Sharp arrived home from Greece.

Mr Fuad claimed that Ms Webber was only taking so long to move the car because she had to put some clothes on and Mr Clarke became increasingly irritated.

He pointed to Mr Clarke’s previous convictions, including affray and using a belt as a weapon, as evidence of his bad temper.

Mr Fuad added: “Parking was an issue in Darpo Clark’s mind before this incident, we know that because he told the police that. He could not have told them any clearer in fact.

“He is quite happy to lie to you. He has the chance, and let’s not forget this, you have the chance in that witness box to tell the truth about everything. There is no need to lie.”

Francis waited for the police following the attack and admitted the stabbing to officers, with neighbours and witnesses telling the court how they heard him shouting he “just saw red”.

The jury has retired to consider a verdict.