Luke Harwood murder accused Jovan Roberts said he tried to stop attack in Romford

17:51 06 March 2013

Roberts said he tried to stop the attack on Luke, 18

Roberts said he tried to stop the attack on Luke, 18


One of the accused killers of teenager Luke Harwood told a court how he desperately tried to stop the attack.

Jovan Roberts, 28, said co-accused James Danby, 27, was “going crazy” as he punched the victim and he tried to calm him down by telling him he was ruining his dinner.

“I’m pushing him against the wall saying ‘Come on, leave him. Come on, calm down. I have got to go. You are going to make me burn my chicken.’”

Luke, originally from Harold Hill, had moved into a council house in Romford occupied by Roberts, Danby, Tony O’Toole, 29, and Emma Hall, 21, the Old Bailey has been told.

Luke died because a girl accused him of raping her, a claim later dropped, jurors heard.

Roberts said he was present at the start of the assault but left to go to his own bedsit within council house in Crow Lane, to eat his meal.

He said he heard Danby arguing with the teenager about the rape claims in Luke’s bedroom and he went in to tell Danby to calm down.

Danby took a picture to show the girl and she confirmed that Luke had attacked her, even though she later accepted he did not.

Roberts said he knew the rape claim was not true and he tried to persuade the girl to tell Danby.

But he heard Danby shouting at Luke: “It’s you, it’s you, you tried to lie to me.”

“He picked him and hit him in the face with a couple of punches,” said Roberts.

When Danby put Luke in a headlock and repeatedly punched his already bleeding face, Roberts said he pulled Danby’s arm away so the victim could breathe.

“Then Luke falls down to the floor,” he said.

“He is getting up and Jay [Danby] is still screaming at him and I am screaming at Jay.

“Jay picks him up from the floor and is punching him. He has got him in the corner.”

Roberts claims he tried to intervene again by “sweeping” Luke out of the corner but it was clear Danby would could not be reasoned with.

“He had gone crazy,” said Roberts.

Luke was taken to a field off Broadmead Road, near the Orchard Estate, in Woodford Green, where he died after his head was stamped upon.

Danby, Hall, O’Toole and Roberts deny murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Hall, Danby and O’Toole, along with Billy Duggan, 21, and 20-year-old Khalid Hassan, deny perverting the course of justice.

All the defendants lived at the bungalow in Crow Lane.

The trial continues.

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