Man murdered by love rival, jury told

PUBLISHED: 12:07 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 22:07 26 October 2009

Potters Bar dad-of-two John Redhead

Potters Bar dad-of-two John Redhead

A MAN who sent a love rival a taunting text message was stabbed to death by him less than an hour later, a jury heard. John Redhead had sent the text saying: 'Your girl has been begging me to go back all day and said she didn t want you,' to Mark Russell.

A MAN who sent a love rival a taunting text message was stabbed to death by him less than an hour later, a jury heard.

John Redhead had sent the text saying "Your girl has been begging me to go back all day and said she didn't want you," to Mark Russell.

Later, as he stepped out of a car on returning home from pub late at night, he was stabbed by Russell four times, it was claimed.

Nearby, the woman both men had had a relationship with, 21-year-old Kelly Sanchez, was alleged to have egged Russell on, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Russell, 31, of Chester Close, Little Heath, pleaded not guilty to murdering father-of-two Mr Redhead, who was 40.

Sanchez, of Mutton Lane, Potters Bar, denied aiding and abetting her co-defendant to murder her ex.

Anne Evans, prosecuting, said: "What that means is the crown says she wound him up to do it."

Outlining the prosecution's case, she said the fatal stabbing of 40-year-old Mr Redhead by Russell happened following a "dispute" over Sanchez.

The court was told Mr Redhead and Sanchez had lived together up until three weeks before his death on August 26 last year.

"It seems he found out she was seeing someone else and that was the end as far as he was concerned," said Mrs Evans.

She said he moved out of the home they had shared and eventually moved into a flat above a shop in Barnet Road, Potters Bar, after his friend, doorman John Darling, said he could stay with him.

Just a week before his death, said Mrs Evans, Mr Redhead received a text message from Sanchez calling him a "fat, 40-year-old w....."

In the same message she told him: "I lied to you. I've been having sex with Mark for ages so the joke's on you."

The day before his death Mr Redhead is said to have met Sanchez in a pub in Potters Bar after texting her to say he still loved her.

Mrs Evans said later that afternoon she allegedly told a friend her new boyfriend was going to beat up Mr Redhead and she was going to stab Mr Darling in the neck with a screwdriver.

The jury then heard how that evening Mr Redhead and Mr Darling went to The Bridge pub in Mutton Lane.

It was Mr Redhead's local and Sanchez had been previously employed there as a barmaid.

That night Mr Darling was working as a doorman at the pub.

Later Sanchez turned up. After speaking to Mr Redhead outside she was in tears.

Doorstaff refused to let her back in and it was then she is alleged to have made threats to Mr Darling telling him: "You are going to get it."

As she walked away she told him: "We'll be back."

Fifteen minutes later, said Mrs Evans, she was seen in a black car with Russell at the wheel as he went up and down the road past the pub.

The jury was told at one point Russell called out from the car to Mr Darling: "I'm going to get you. How dare you say that about my girlfriend."

Just before 1am Mr Redhead sent a text message to Russell which began: "I know fella. I don't want any trouble with you, but your girl has been begging me to go back all day and said she didn't want you."

Mrs Evans said the defendants drove to Mr Darling's flat, parking in the street.

Russell had with him a large kitchen knife taken from his parents' kitchen.

She went on: "There was no reason for either of them to be there except to wait for Darling and Redhead and ambush them on their return home."

At around 1.45am Mr Redhead and Mr Darling arrived. As they got out of their car, Mr Darling noticed Sanchez sitting inside and on her own.

"Mr Russell emerged from the darkness. He had with him a large carving knife in his hand.

"He ran towards John Redhead shouting 'You are gonna get it.' He plunged the knife into him four times," said Mrs Evans

The court heard one of two wounds to Mr Redhead's chest pierced his heart.

"He staggered away with the knife still embedded in his upper arm and was caught on a CCTV camera collapsing to the ground on a petrol station forecourt at 1.46am.

Mr Darling, who was standing nearby, heard Sanchez shouting out to her co-accused "Do him in an' all, stick it in him an' all."

He started to make for the doorman, but then turned and ran back to the car, said Mrs Evans.

The jury heard he and his girlfriend drove to his parents' home where his mother saw him in a T-shirt covered in blood.

He is alleged to have said to her: "I've done a bad thing."

The pair were arrested by police in Quakers Lane, Potters Bar, just after 2am.

The jury heard that Russell's DNA was later found on the handle of the knife that had been left embedded in Mr Redhead's arm.

The prosecutor told the court: "She aided and abetted Russell to commit this crime.

"The reason John Redhead died was because of her. There is no suggestion that John Redhead and Mark Russell had anything to do with each other before the night he died.

"Once Sanchez was barred from The Bridge, she threatened revenge and said 'We'll be back' and back she came with Russell who murdered John Redhead."

The case continues.

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