A ROOFER accused of trying to murder a neighbour said he was "joking" when he told police he wanted to chop off the victim's head with a meat cleaver, a court heard. Brian Ferguson, 44, said he armed himself with three knives after being attacked by an angry mob led by window cleaner John Taylor. But he told jurors at Snaresbrook Crown Court that he made the comments because he was "always joking with the police". Ferguson denied stabbing Mr Taylor, 25, in the stomach and claimed he was only trying to warn the victim off. The fight erupted after Ferguson beat up a frail old man on a bus in Witley on July 21 last year. Mr Taylor punched Ferguson on the nose after hearing about the attack on pensioner Colin Palmer, 75, and returned to Ferguson's flat later the same evening. Ferguson told the jury that Mr Taylor began punching him when he answered the door to his Roke Lane flat. The roofer said: "I pushed him on to the lawn and he fell on to his back." Ferguson admitted sitting astride Mr Taylor while wielding the knives but added: "John had hold of my arms and I was still holding the knives then someone started kicking me repeatedly in my back. "Then two men, who I know now as Ian Gatford and Andrew Black, grabbed hold of my arms and were pushing and shoving me. "They were trying to move me and knock me off of John. I held on to the knives so they didn't start flying around. "Every time they were pulling and kicking me, John was screaming in pain. "I was concerned for him, then I became petrified of letting go of the knives in case the others thought I had stabbed him." Ferguson claims he retreated back inside his flat with his girlfriend after the villagers persuaded him to drop the knives. He denied lunging at the two men with the knife and said: "I was just looking at John rolling around. He was in so much pain I was concerned for him so I phoned 999 when I got back inside my flat. "Then a group outside started kicking my door in and a garden gnome smashed through my window at the same time. "I heard the door cave in." Ferguson claimed he was "tearful" and in "shock" as he was later arrested at home by two policeman. He later told police: "It was the third time I had been attacked that day so I took an axe and a knife. "I was going to stab him in the body and chop off his head - that I am willing to admit to. If he dies, he dies, it's in the control of God's hands." But Ferguson told jurors he was "always joking" with the police. He said: "The police station is a little bit like home - I have been going there since I was a kid. "My conscience was clear because I didn't stab him. He brought it on himself. It was God's will whether he lived or died." Ferguson admitted he had previously broken his common law wife's jaw and cheekbone in a fight as well as "punching the living daylights" out of a man who he "caught her with". But he claimed he gave up fighting after becoming a Christian, although he later began drinking again. "I was rebelling against God, had stopped going to church and was drinking. I was drunk more than I had been because I was hiding from God," he said. Mr Taylor spent several weeks in hospital with a "life-threatening" injury as well as cuts to his hands and has been unable to return to work since the attack. Ferguson denies attempted murder, wounding with intent and unlawful wounding all on John Taylor, unlawful wounding on Andrew Black, and wounding with intent and unlawfully wounding both on Ian Gatford. He has admitted battery on bus driver Roger Routledge and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Colin Palmer. The trial continues.