THE killer of a man who was fatally stabbed at a house in Halesowen was acting in self-defence and was in fear of his life, a court heard.

Ian Swinburne, who was staying at the semi-detached house in Graham Road, is accused of murdering 49-year-old David Carpenter on Sunday evening.

But in a rare move, his solicitor asked Dudley Magistrates today to lift reporting restrictions in order to appeal for witnesses.

Michael Davies, defending, said: “In 27 years I have never come across such a strong case of self- defence.”

Chairman of the bench Robert Taylor lifted the restrictions as laid down under section eight of the Magistrates Court Act 1980, but also imposed a Section 39 order on the press, banning the publication of information leading to the identity of a juvenile.

Swinburne, aged 49, of Stourbridge Road, Dudley, was further charged with assaulting Mitchell While causing actual bodily harm during the incident at the property in the usually quiet cul-de-sac at about 9pm.

Mr Davies said the two men had come from the Wolverhampton area to Halesowen with the purpose of “sorting out my client.”

He said they had a pre-planning meeting in a pub before going to the house where they “burst through the door and gained access.”

Mr Davies said: “It’s quite clear my client was acting in self-defence.”

He told the court the men had forced Swinburne to the back of the house, through the kitchen and conservatory.

“He feared for his life and used a knife to protect himself,” said Mr Davies.

He appealed for witnesses to either the pre-planning meeting or to any neighbours who may be reluctant to speak to the police to contact him.

Magistrates’ clerk Keith Bayliss stopped Mr Davies from making further comments on the case, telling him it was now a matter for Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Swinburne, who stood impassively in the dock, flanked by a prison officer, wearing a casual pale blue top, spoke only to confirm is personal details.

He was remanded in custody to appear at the crown court on Monday and his licence following a previous custodial sentence has been revoked.

Mr Davies said afterwards he planned to apply to a judge for his client to be bailed and, if successful, hopes the Home Office will release him on licence again, on the grounds that he is not a risk to the public.

A 28-year-old man, from Oldbury, who was arrested at the scene of the killing, on suspicion of using violence to secure entry to the house, remains on police bail.

Mr Davies can be contacted at Sanders and Co solicitors, Stourbridge, on 01384 375437.