An Orpington man has appeared before a jury at the Old Bailey accused of murdering 24-year-old George Barker at a gym in Bexley nearly three years ago in what has been described as a "merciless" attack.

Charles Riddington, 37, of Winterbourne Avenue, is on trial charged with murdering Mr Barker on November 14, 2016 at Double K Gym in Bexley Village and possessing an offensive weapon.

He denies both charges.

Appearing in the dock before Judge Nigel Lickley QC on Thursday, August 22, Mr Riddington wore a blue shirt and black trousers.

Opening the case, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told the court Mr Barker was "brutally stabbed to death on the morning of November 14, 2016".

Prosecutors allege that, on the morning of Mr Barker’s death, the defendant went to Double K Gym "armed with a lock-knife" and was in the company of at least three other men.

Mr Rees told the court: "The defendant launched a merciless attack on [Mr Barker] and fatally stabbed him to death with a knife before making off with the other men."

He described Mr Barker’s injuries – a total of 17 stab wounds to his head, body and arms - as "horrific".

Mr Rees referred to a post-mortem which showed the official cause of death was from three fatal stab wounds to Mr Barker’s left lung and spleen.

The court heard Mr Barker was a regular user of Double K Gym and had trained there for between two to three years for fitness, rather than as a kickboxer.

The jury heard a witness statement made on the day of George’s death from Kieron Keddle, owner of the gym, which was read out by Mr Rees.

In the statement, Mr Keddle claimed the defendant and Mr Barker were known to each other from training at Double K Gym.

He also recalled having a conversation with the defendant about a potential TV project about the gym featuring former footballer Jamie Redknapp shortly before George died.

As the pair were talking outside, Mr Keddle recalled the defendant asking, "Do you know if George is coming in today?"

Mr Keddle’s statement then recalled a "tussle" between Mr Barker and Mr Riddington after the pair met inside the gym, after which Mr Riddington fled.

"I could see a silver blade of approximately four inches," the statement read.

It then described how 24-year-old Mr Barker stumbled forwards and collapsed in the front entrance of the gym.

Mr Keddle wrote: "There was lots of blood. George walked towards me and said, 'call an ambulance'."

Jurors were also told that Mr Riddington did not hand himself in to police after Mr Barker’s death – and instead bought a one-way ticket to Dusseldorf from Manchester Airport the following day.

Mr Rees told the court the ticket was bought under the name of Barry Ryan on the morning of November 15 – using Mr Riddington’s "false passport".

The prosecutor added Riddington was escorted back to the UK on November 8, 2018 after being extradited from Cyprus.

The trial continues.