A MAN accused of street robberies has claimed he was ‘stalked like an animal' by one of his alleged victims and threatened with a knife by another.

A jury retired at Oxford Crown Court yesterday, to consider the case of 29-year-old Sam Pearce, of Market Street in Chipping Norton.

Pearce is charged with various counts including two of robbery, possession of a knife or blade, attempted robbery and common assault.

All took place in Oxford between December 2018 and January 2019, except the alleged common assault, which was in Chipping Norton.

While he admits theft and attempted theft, he denies the more serious of charge of robbery, which involves force or threat of force, and denies common assault.

During the trial, the court heard from a teenage schoolboy who alleged Pearce threatened him with a knife and stole his £600 racing bike in Squitchey Lane.

The boy claimed Pearce said ‘give me your bike or I’ll stab you,’ while the boy’s friend alleged he saw a blade poking out from Pearce’s sleeve and another knife in a carrier bag he was holding.

ALSO READ: 'Menacing' robber shoved woman and stole phone, court hears

While Pearce admitted taking the bike, he said this was because he feared for his safety as it was the boy with the knife, not him.

Summarising his defence yesterday, Judge Peter Ross said: “He said the boys were whispering about him and taking the p**s, showing off.

“He said one of them referred to him as a 'c**k' and pulled a small kitchen knife from his pocket, and he was scared - he said he took the bike to escape.”

Pearce is also accused of hitting Kim Fuellenbach on the head and stealing her phone in Frenchay Road, while she was on the line to 999 reporting him to police.

She recalled how she had seen him grabbing a woman by the hair on the towpath and demanding money from her friend, and had ran off onto the bridge to report him, looking over the side to see if she could still see them.

Outlining Pearce’s defence, Judge Ross said: “He said she looked at him menacingly and threateningly, she was stalking him like an animal, trying to gather up a gang.

“[He said] she was stalking and haunting him from the bridge.”

Pearce admitted taking her phone and that he ‘brushed’ the side of her head as he grabbed it, but it was ‘justifiable force in self defence.’

ALSO READ: Police hunt for rogue drone pilot after airport 'near miss'

Pearce is also accused of trying to steal a cigarette from a man outside the Westgate Centre, and telling him ‘I’ve got a blade.’

He admitted attempted theft but denied any threats.

Pearce also stands accused of assaulting Daniel Pullen in Chipping Norton, grabbing him by the hood and telling him he had a knife.

He was initially charged with robbery but as the trial unfolded, prosecutors accepted that he had not stolen or tried to steal anything.

Pearce denied making any threats but said he had ‘tapped Mr Pullen on the shoulder’ to ask him not to smoke weed, although Mr Pullen denied smoking weed.

In a police interview read to the court, when asked if he had a knife, Pearce said: “Everyone is carrying knives and blades these days, it’s all over Facebook and Snapchat, everyone films them stabbing each other.”

He denied carrying a knife himself, however.

The jury will return to court to deliberate on Monday.