Murder trial: Men plead innocence after Welwyn Garden City stabbing

PUBLISHED: 14:42 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:44 03 July 2018

St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo

St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo

Archant

Three Welwyn Garden City men have pleaded their innocence after a man was stabbed to death in the town.

Vinnie Bradshaw, Daniel Frazer-Traille and Keith Coventry, all listed as living at Bassingburn Walk, were charged with murder after Jamil Mohammed Sarki was stabbed in the heart during a fight in Ethelred Close and adjoining Ludwick Way, on January 18 this year.

St Albans Crown Court previously heard how the confrontation happened after Bradshaw and John Taycur – who was acquitted earlier in the trial – had conducted some sort of scam in London that day, following which Mr Sarki and a friend had come to WGC to get the money back.

Following a month-long trial, Judge Andrew Bright QC summed up the defendants’ cases before the jury was released to make its decision.

He said Frazer-Traille, 29, had driven with Coventry to Bassingburn Walk that evening after his mother called saying his brother, Bradshaw, had got into some trouble and people were looking for him.

Frazer-Traille and Coventry then split up to search nearby roads, and eventually made phone contact with Bradshaw, who agreed to return home. Frazer-Traille said moments later, he spotted two black men moving quickly nearby with their hoods up.

He claimed one of them then struck him, possibly with a shoulder barge, before he was then repeatedly kicked on the floor.

He then saw something fall from one of the attackers’ pockets, which turned out to be a knife, which he grabbed and used to thrust upwards to defend himself, the court heard.

Frazer-Traille claimed he did not know at that point if it had made contact.

The two black men were then said to have run off, and were slowly pursued by Frazer-Traille, before one of them fell to the floor.

He also claimed to see Coventry on a corner nearby doing nothing to help him while he was being attacked.

Frazer-Traille denied the prosecution’s claims that he had armed himself with a knife and attacked the men, rather he was defending himself.

Judge Bright then summarised the case of Bradshaw, 19, who went to Sir Frederic Osborn School and Oaklands College.

He said that following the scam earlier that day, the two black men saw him in Costcutter and threatened to break into his home and hurt those inside if the money was not returned.

After heading home, he suggested to Mr Taycur that they leave the property, and warned his mother that two men were “after him”.

Bradshaw claimed that he was hiding at the time of the attack and was never any closer than 80m from it.

He denied the only reason he then returned home was because his brother had sorted the men out.

The 19-year-old admitted repeatedly lying to police during interviews after his arrest, but said that was not because he had done anything wrong, rather he was “terrified”, not thinking straight, and did not want to incriminate anyone.

Judge Bright then moved onto Coventry, a 34-year-old father-of-three, who said that after Frazer-Traille’s mother voiced her fears for Bradshaw, he went searching nearby roads.

He said that he saw two people walk into Bassingburn Walk, and the pair began to walk towards them before a fight ensued, but he did not get involved in any way.

Coventry then claimed Frazer-Traille got up from the floor and pursued the two men, and he followed them, but denied he chased them.

Coventry also said he had no weapon and to his knowledge neither did Frazer-Traille.

Following the incident, Coventry said he walked back to The Galleria, but was forced to meet Frazer-Traille later to pick up valuables he left in his car.

He claimed Frazer-Traille was angry that Coventry had not come to his aid during the attack, but added the pair did not discuss what had just happened.

He denied that discrepancies in his evidence and police interviews were down to him trying to match Frazer-Traille’s account.

As well as murder, all three defendants were charged with attempted GBH.

The jury, comprising of six men and six women, were released on Tuesday afternoon.

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