A man who confessed to locking his friend in a car boot and setting it on fire in the Northern Territory says he only made the confession because he was being threatened.
Gary Stewart Miles, 41, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Paul John Stamp, 47, on September 19 last year.
That night he was drinking with Miles and another man, Gregory Channing, who warned him not to take any of the beers he’d bought for Miles.
After returning to the apartment a few hours later and seeing that Mr Stamp had drunk the four remaining beers, the two men bashed him into unconsciousness, before putting him in the boot of Channing’s car, intending to dump him in the bush.
When the car ran out of petrol, the pair went to get a jerry can of fuel, which Miles told police he poured over the car in a sudden rage before igniting it.
But nine days after making a tearful four-hour confession to police, Miles retracted his statement in September last year, Darwin’s Supreme Court heard on Wednesday.
Miles said Channing was infuriated by Mr Stamp drinking the beers, that he initiated the drive and the fire, and he only confessed under duress because Channing was threatening him.
“He said the same thing would happen to me, and made threats of me being a dog in prison, with all his big heavy mates he said he was going to get to smash me,” Miles told the court.
“I took the rap for everything.”
Miles said he gave Mr Stamp drinks because he knew his friend had no money after being robbed, and wasn’t angry at him for drinking the remaining beers.
“I knew Paul had no money when he came to my flat. I knew I’d have to feed him until he got back on his feet,” Miles said.
“And then you punched him in the mouth,” crown prosecutor Paul Usher said.
“Yes, what a good friend I am, eh,” Miles replied.
He said after the two beat Mr Stamp he wanted to take him to hospital, but Channing “threatened to kick the f*** out of me”.
“I panicked. I’d never been around someone so aggressive before.”
The trial continues.