Murder trial: Young man collapsed and died in the street after being stabbed with a metre-long sword at a Leamington flat
It is believed the death was a result of a clash between rival drug-dealers
A young man collapsed and died in the street after being stabbed with a metre-long sword at a Leamington flat in what was said to have been a clash between rival drug-dealers.
And 17-year-old Nasir Patrice’s alleged killer was described as smirking as he fled after delivering the fatal wounds.
The youth, now 17, but 16 at the time, from the Lewisham area of London, but who cannot be named because of his age, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Nasir in January last year.
He has also denied the attempted murder of a second young man at the flat in Tachbrook Road, Leamington, and doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice after the killing.
As the trial at Warwick Crown Curt was about to start, barristers for three other defendants who had denied perverting the course of justice asked for the charge to be put again.
Richard Talawila (19) of Northwick Avenue, Harrow; Abraham Kombey (19) from Erith, London, but of no fixed address; and William Hutsch (18) of Osborn Terrace, Blackheath, London, then pleaded guilty and will be sentenced after the trial.
With only the 17-year-old left in the dock, prosecutor Michael Burrows QC told the jury: “This case is about the death of Nasir Patrice. He was killed on the 15th of January last year.
“That morning he went with two friends to a flat in a house in Tachbrook Road here in Leamington.
“The flat was the home of Natasha Owen. She was not there, but there were two men there. One was Christopher Galvin, and the other was this defendant.
“He was armed with a large knife or sword which he used to stab and kill Nasir Patrice, who was 17 years old.
“The prosecution say he murdered him, and intended either to kill him, or at least cause him really serious injury, and he also used the sword to stab Abdul Moustapha.”
Mr Burrows said the defendant then ran from the scene and got a taxi to the Austin guesthouse in Emscote Road, Warwick, where he, Talawila, Kombey and Hutsch had been staying.
Also there was a man called Temba John who was talking to Talawila when the defendant arrived in a panic, with a deep cut to his knee and with a metre-long sword ‘with a nasty-looking blade.’
“He said he had been at Tasha’s house and three men had stormed in and tried to rob him, and he demonstrated how he had stabbed one of them.”
They went into their room, and Talawila then knocked on Mr John’s door and asked him to get some tissues for them, and when he took them to the room he saw the bed had been stripped.
Later he saw all four go out carrying four or five bin bags, and he was told they needed him to do them a favour.
He was reluctant, but saw they had weapons, and they got him to drive them in a black Renault Kadjar to Birmingham and then West Bromwich where the defendant and Kombey got out.
He, Talawila and Hutsch continued to Redditch, stopping on the way to get a jerry can in which they then put petrol.
At a spot near the cemetery some of the bin bags were taken from the car and set on fire using the petrol, allegedly to destroy bloodstained clothing and bedding.
Mr John was then told to book a hotel in Birmingham in his name and to take them all there, which he did.
The next day he was told to drive Kombey and Hutsch to a shop, where they left him in the car as they went to buy clothes.
“He saw his chance to drive off – and that is what he did, and he drove back to Leamington and went to speak to a friend and then to the police station with the car.”
Mr Burrows told the jury: “For his part, [the defendant] who was 16 at the time and now 17, denies murder. It is his case that he acted in self-defence.
“There is, of course, a background to the case. That background is drugs.
“Christopher Galvin was a drug user, as was Tasha Owen. [The defendant] and his co-accused were dealing in drugs, and Nasir Patrice and his friends were rival dealers.”
Mr Burrows said Mr Galvin was homeless, and Miss Owen sometimes let him stay at her flat, and when he got there on January 14 three men who she allowed to use the flat for dealing in drugs, were there.
One of them was Talawila, who he had bought drugs from and knew as Rico, and Mr Burrows said one of the other two, who Mr Galvin said was a ‘runner,’ was clearly the defendant.
“Christopher Galvin says the defendant had an ornamental sword 18 inches to two feet long which he kept in his hand all the time and kept swinging it around and playing with it.”
The next morning Mr Galvin woken by the defendant, who was the only other person there at that time, and he contacted Miss Owen who said she was on her way back.
When he heard a knock on the door he assumed it was her and opened it – only to be confronted by Nasir Patrice and his two friends, one of whom punched him as they pushed their way in.
As the three of them checked the bedroom and then went into the lounge, Mr Galvin took his opportunity to escape.
He ran outside from where he heard shouting and screaming and someone shouting: “Put it down, put it down.”
Mr Burrows said: “Within a minute or so the same three men came out of the house screaming for help, and he could see one of them was seriously injured and went to help him.
“That was Nasir Patrice, and he saw that one of the other two had also been stabbed to his abdomen, Abdul Moustapha.”
Thirty seconds later the defendant came out of the house and ‘looked round and smirked’ before running off.
Having made off, the teenager approached two builders to ask them to call for a taxi for him, and when they both refused, he went into a shop where the shopkeeper phoned for one – and the taxi driver took him back to the guest house.
Meanwhile paramedics arrived and fought to save Nasir, but despite their efforts he was declared dead at the scene.
He had four severe wounds to his chest, one of which had gone right through his body and would have required ‘the upper tier of force’ according to the pathologist, while another had cut through his pulmonary artery.
He also had wounds to his hands which Mr Burrows said were consistent with him trying to defend himself or grab the blade of the sword, and Mr Moustapha had a wound to his abdomen and a collapsed lung. The trial continues.