A man accused of murdering an Omani student in a botched knife robbery for his £34,000 watch asked his friend to take the blame, a court has heard.
Kuwaiti citizen Badir Al-Nazi and German national Arseboon Dilbaro are on trial charged with murdering 20-year-old Mohammed Al-Araimi, 20, who was stabbed in an alleyway in Knightsbridge on December 5, 2019.
Al-Nazi, 24, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and having a knife, but claims he did not mean to stab the King's College student, who had been out for dinner with friend Nasser Kanoo, now 22, who was also stabbed.
Al-Nazi said he had wanted an apology after an Arabic insult was shouted at him when he asked for a cigarette.
But prosecutors say Al-Nazi and Dilbaro, 23, went out looking for victims to rob and found Mr Al-Araimi, who was wearing a £34,000 Patek Philippe watch, and Mr Kanoo, who had a £7,000 Rolex.
The pair deny murder, wounding Mr Kanoo with intent to do him grievous bodily harm (GBH) and attempted robbery, while Dilbaro further denies having a knife.
Giving evidence at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday, Dilbaro said it was Al-Nazi who had stabbed both Mr Al-Araimi and Mr Kanoo.
He said: "I remember Badir going up to Mohammed and grabbing him. He grabbed his shirt or jacket or whatever he was wearing, grabbed it by the neck.
"I remember Mohammed punching him, punched his face. I remember Badir's facial expression change. He was overcome by rage."
Dilbaro said he saw Al-Nazi "swinging" at Mr Al-Araimi but did not see the knife until he handed it to him after the alleged attack, and said he "can't even explain" CCTV footage of himself "punching out" at Mr Kanoo.
"I just remember being in shock," he said.
Dilbaro said Al-Nazi later told him he had acted because "he was violated" or "disrespected", and the following day asked him to "take the rap for it".
"He wants me to take the blame for what happened," he said.
Dilbaro said he fled to Egypt because he was "scared of Badir" and "scared of getting arrested", but returned to the UK to "clear my name".
And he alleged he was repeatedly threatened by his co-defendant after his arrest when they were being held in custody on remand.
"He said: 'If you snitch, I will kill you,"' Dilbaro told jurors.
"He was saying: 'Listen, I'm taking the rap for manslaughter so the least you can do is take the rap for the GBH, you're not going to take the rap for the manslaughter.'
"He made it look like he was doing me a favour."
Dilbaro added: "He said: 'If you don't take the rap, I'm going to crack your head."'
The trial continues.