Pool player accused of stabbing opponent to death following row over rules of the game

A pool player stabbed his opponent to death in the street following an argument in a pub over the rules of the game, a court heard.

Lyndon Smith, 47, is accused of plunging a blade into the chest of John Joyce, 20, after they couldn’t agree on what pool rules to follow for a £20 bet.

Birmingham Crown Court was told Smith had been playing with the victim and his friends at the Market Tavern, in Bilston, West Mids., on August 17 last year.

After about an hour Smith asked Michael Keenan, a pub regular who was in Mr Joyce’s group, why he wasn’t joining in with the game.

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said “good natured banter” followed before one challenged the other to a single frame wagering £20 on the outcome.

John Joyce. A pool player stabbed a man to death in the street after a row in a pub about the rules of the game, a court heard.

But the group of men could not agree on which rules to play by causing Smith to become angry and storm out of the pub, jurors were told.

He then drove to his home and returned with a six-inch knife and was captured on CCTV stabbing the blade into the bar counter and searching for the group, who has just left the pub.

Smith could then be seen in footage shown to the jury getting into his car, followed by a man and woman, before driving away with the door still ajar.

Mr Heywood added: “Both customers seem to be arguing with the defendant.

“It appears these two are remonstrating with Mr Smith. She seemed to mimic Mr Smith’s stabbing gesture.”

The court heard Smith drove away with his headlights off and found Joyce and his pals further up the street and raised the knife to the window as he pulled up.

The footage then shows Smith getting out of the car and brandishing the blade before Mr Joyce “tried to disarm him”.

Mr Heywood said: “John Joyce goes for him and in response Mr Smith appears to stab at his left hand, stomach and the side of his chest.”

Smith is also accused of attacking Mr Joyce’s uncle, James McDonagh, and his friend Michael Keenan.

Smith, of Bilston, denies murdering Mr Joyce and wounding Mr McDonagh and Mr Keenan intending to cause grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.

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