A MAN accused of the murder of 31-year-old Steven Carey in Ellesmere Port has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Ben Steven Wilkinson, 25, of Waverton Road, Great Sutton, made the admission on the first day of his murder trial at Chester Crown Court on Monday, November 16.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article, namely a knife.

Both offences happened on March 14, in Pooltown Road, by the Costcutter store in Ellesmere Port.

Wilkinson denies murder.

A trial, expected to last between seven and eight days, will take place at Chester Crown Court before Justice Michael Leeming, with the jury of five men and seven women expected to find a verdict on whether Wilkinson is guilty or not of murder.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the jury is socially distanced in the courtroom, meaning the trial can take place even during the coronavirus lockdown.

Prosecuting, Tania Griffiths QC outlined the prosecution's case on Monday afternoon to the jury.

Mr Carey had arrived at the home of Wilkinson's partner at the time in Pooltown Road just before 8.45pm to speak to Wilkinson, who was at the house, about a drug supply.

Wilkinson went outside with Carey, having concealed a kitchen knife in his pants.

An argument ensued and Wilkinson stabbed Mr Carey in the lower back, Ms Griffiths told the court.

Mr Carey went a short distance along Regent Street but collapsed a short distance later, while Wilkinson went to a friend's house in Bostock Green, where he went into a shed and locked the door.

Two teenagers made a 999 call to alert nearby police to the scene, who arrived at 8.53pm.

Police bodycam footage played to the court showed Mr Carey on the ground, trying to get up.

Police Sergeant Paul Munnerley asked him: "Steve, who has done this mate?"

Mr Carey replied: "Ben Wilkinson."

Mr Carey was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital, but died just over an hour later at 9.55pm.

He was shown to have had three stab wounds in his lower back.

Police found the kitchen knife at Pooltown Road, with DNA on the blade matching that of Mr Carey.

Officers located Wilkinson in the shed and arrested him.

When interviewed, Wilkinson said Mr Carey had arrived at the Pooltown Road address and was really aggressive, "shouting and screaming" about money owed for drugs.

Wilkinson said he "panicked" and picked up the kitchen knife to scare Mr Carey.

He said he wanted Mr Carey to follow him outside so as to be away from children in the house.

Wilkinson said he tried talking to Mr Carey but Mr Carey put him in a choke-hold and tried to "trap" him.

Wilkinson said he stabbed Mr Carey three times but, given the clothing Mr Carey was wearing, "did not think the knife had gone in".

The defendant added he threw the knife in the kitchen sink and went to Bostock Green, locking the shed door behind him at an address there.

He added he "didn't meant to hurt him".

The trial continues on Tuesday.