A man accused of murdering a 14-year-old boy sold drugs for a London gang so he could “survive”, and would carry a knife for “safety”, a court has heard.
Jaden Moodie was knocked off a moped and stabbed to death in Leyton, north-east London, on 8 January.
Ayoub Majdouline, who is accused of being one of five men who carried out the attack, told the Old Bailey he had sold drugs since he was 16 years old.
The 19-year-old, from Wembley, denies murder and possession of a knife.
The court has been told Jaden was selling drugs for the Beaumont Crew, also known as Let’s Get Rich, when he was attacked by a group of men who were looking for a rival gang member to attack.
Jurors heard Mr Majdouline had a troubled upbringing in Leyton and his parents had split up when he was seven.
While living with his mother, he was abused by his stepfather so went to live with his aunt, the court was told.
However, that relationship broke down and he ended up in foster care. His father also died in 2015.
The court was told he had been identified as a victim of modern slavery by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over concerns he was being exploited by older youths.
Giving evidence, Mr Majdouline said he sold drugs “for and with” the Mali Boys gang, including as part of county lines dealing in Basingstoke, Ipswich and Andover.
He told jurors he was previously jailed for drug and knife offences but went straight back to dealing “to survive”
“At the time I did not feel like I was being supported by social services and I never lived by myself before,” he said.
He added that he got “confused” sorting out jobseekers’ allowance when he turned 18 and dealing had been “the only way I knew how to make money”.
Explaining why he carried a knife, Mr Majdouline said he had been “sliced” on one occasion in Basingstoke so carried a blade “for my own safety”.
The trial continues.
A 14-year-old boy accused of a stabbing murder has been remanded to a secure unit.
The teenager, from Barking, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning over the killing of Santino Angelo Dymiter, from Plaistow.
Eighteen-year-old Mr Dymiter was found injured on the afternoon of 26 August by emergency services at Chadd Green, east London.
The judge remanded the 14-year-old to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is also accused of having a knife in a public place.