Two young men accused of murdering an Oxford teenager said 'I love you' to each other minutes after his death, a court has heard.

Joshua Harling died in Thame on the night of July 22 last year.

He had been stabbed during a fight in the town that night, and then got into his green VW Polo to drive away, jurors at Oxford Crown Court have previously heard – but he then crashed the car and later died.

Prosecutors allege that Nathan Braim, 20, of Broadwaters Avenue, Thame, and Benjamin Eyles, 19, of Monks Hollow, Marlow Bottom, killed Mr Harling – which they both deny.

Braim, dressed for court in a white shirt and blue face mask yesterday, listened as Eyles – wearing a grey suit – spoke in the witness box.

He told the court that the pair were ‘as close as brothers’ after meeting at school when they were 16.

Eyles was picked on by his friends in a ‘bottle game’ which saw whoever dropped a bottle first jumped beaten up.

But, he told the court yesterday, whenever the more confident Braim was around, he was never bullied.

Prosecutor Pavlos Panayi asked him what happened that evening.

He said: “You dropped [Nathan Braim] off at six minutes past seven in the evening. Five minutes earlier you had seen an incident where he had stabbed somebody in the chest.

“You see the effect of the stabbing, the car on its roof and your parting comment was ‘I love you’. Did you feel that you and he were in this together?"

Eyles told jurors: “I hope none of you get to experience that in your life.”

Mr Panayi asked: “Was it an expression of loyalty?”

But Eyles hit back: “No, it was that I love him.

“Sir, the only thing on my mind was going to my mum. You say 'I love you' to someone, what more is there to it?”

When asked why Braim had told Eyles that he would either end up ‘dead’ or going to ‘jail for a long time’, the teenager told jurors he thought it was about robberies that Braim had committed in High Wycombe.

Mr Panayi took Eyles through the specific details of each conviction, including one where Braim had approached two schoolboys asking to buy drugs before saying he would ‘duppy them’.

He said: “Did you think these two schoolboys might pose a threat to Nathan’s life?”

Eyles responded: “Not particularly.”

It was also revealed that Braim had been sending secret letters to Eyles, who was keeping them stored in his shoes while on bail, and the pair had been exchanging voice notes.

Eyles has previously described himself as a ‘bystander’ in the incident and initially went to the police station to hand himself in as a witness.

Eyles and Braim both deny the charge of murder and the trial continues.