A TEENAGER has admitted kicking a homeless man in the face several times but denied dumping his unconscious body into the River Cam, a court heard today.

Jack Robinson, 18, who denies murdering 52-year-old Raymond Boyle in the early hours of June 22 last year, told the court his tearful "confession" to police officers the day after his arrest was false and used only to get his best friend and co-defendant Daniel Mynott, also 18, "out of the picture completely".

Robinson said he was prepared to take the rap for murder to clear Mynott's name as his friend had "more to lose than me".

Robinson, of no fixed address, denies murder and Mynott, of Haviland Way, denies grievous bodily harm with intent.

On the first day of the defence case, Robinson took the stand to admit kicking Mr Boyle "five or six times" in the face after the homeless man had given him a cigarette which smelled of opium.

Answering questions from defence lawyer Bernard Tetlow QC, Robinson described how he and Mynott, who Robinson met when he was 14 and described as his "best mate", had bought 12 bottles of Stella Artois and 10 cans of Fosters in the evening of June 21 before heading to Jesus Green to drink.

It was there, the jury was told, Robinson asked a passing Mr Boyle for a cigarette. Mr Boyle obliged, but when Robinson asked another man for a light he was told the cigarette smelled of opium.

Robinson, who admitted to smoking cannabis "occasionally" but said of harder drugs "I don't like the idea of them", then said he "just lost it" and punched Mr Boyle in the face.

"I lost control, I thought I got spiked," he said.

Asked what made him so angry by Mr Tetlow, Robinson said: "Just the thought of being drugged."

Mr Boyle was knocked to the floor but "aimed kicks at [Robinson's] legs" before Robinson and Mynott kicked him.

The court heard how Robinson had remained angry to the point where Mynott had tried to restrain him but Robinson broke free before kicking Mr Boyle in the face "five or six times".

Robinson then told the court he left Mr Boyle "breathing but unconscious" on the path by the River Cam. When asked by Mr Tetlow if he had dragged him into the river, Robinson said: "No."

Echoing the debate in court on Friday, Robinson again denied saying three vital lines of his confession which were not picked up by a covert recording device but only appeared in a police officer's notes: "Yes, it was me. I did it. I gave him a kicking and dragged him into the river."

The jury was told how a tearful Mynott had begged Robinson to confess to murder and so absolve him from any wrong-doing. Robinson, whose parents split up when he was one, said he wanted to clear Mynott's name as he thought he had "more to lose" as he was closer with his family.

The trial continues.