Collier Row teenager on trial for murder as boy tells court of moment he realised his friend had been stabbed
PUBLISHED: 12:57 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:57 07 November 2019
A teenager has described the terrible moment he realised his pal had been stabbed, as he lay on the floor drenched in blood himself and looked in the distance to see the 15-year-old’s lifeless body.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the Old Bailey how he shouted over to Tashaûn Aird - who he knew as Dotz - four times with no response.
He believes he and Tashaûn, a music producer, may have been attacked over a music dispute.
Romaine Williams-Reid, 18, of Erith Crescent, Collier Row, and two 15-year-olds are on trial for Tashaûn's murder. All three deny the charge. A fourth defendant, Cayden Stuart, died in custody in June aged 16 while awaiting trial. He is said to have been responsible for stabbing the 16-year-old.
The young witness told the court the pair had been "chilling" in "SF" or Somerford Grove, Stoke Newington, in the evening of May 1 with four other friends.
But "six figures" wearing dark clothing emerged from an alleyway and came towards them. The boy, who was on a bike, pulled down the scarf he had on his head so as "not to act suspicious towards them".
He then heard one of them say: "Oi" in a deep voice, and he told jurors he saw one pull a 22" machete out of his trousers.
"I did a U-turn and rode up the field panicking," he said. "When I got to the pathway I looked behind me and no one was with Tashaûn."
At that moment one of the boys caught up with him and stabbed him in his back with what he thought was a "zombie killer knife", making him crash into a gate.
He tried to flee but someone grabbed him with both hands and ordered him to get off his bike.
"That's when I started feeling my wound hurt more," he said. "To make sure I didn't get stabbed again I got off my bike and I fell to the floor."
He described how he lay there drenched in blood and unable to move.
"To my left I could see the gate where I came out," he said. "If I looked further I could see Tashaûn's body on the floor by a white pole. I started yelling, "Dotz".
"There was no answer. I shouted four times. Then some white guy got out a car. I showed him [the blood on] my hand and he panicked and took me to the shop. After he got me there I never saw him again."
But no one in the Elif Food Centre came to his aid. Jurors had been played mute CCTV footage the day before that showed the boy enter the shop bleeding heavily, stand there for a few seconds and then walk out.
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"I know the people there," he said. "I asked them for help and they looked at me like I was crazy. I said to them: 'I've been hurt'.
"I showed them my hand and their faces changed. They said: 'Get out the shop'."
Luckily an ambulance was already stationed nearby outside, and the crew were able to treat him.
"I said: 'My friend is over there', but they said they didn't have enough units to help," he said. "I knew Tashaûn had been stabbed because he didn't reply."
Once they reached him paramedics were unable to save Tashaûn, and he died at the scene 45 minutes after the attack was launched.
A post-mortem examination revealed he had been stabbed nine times, with the fatal blow to his chest penetrating 11cm deep to pierce his lung.
In cross-examination, one of the defence barristers said to him: "The police were keen to find out why you were stabbed. You thought it might have something to do with music."
He replied: "It was something I just wondered. If someone can get killed over their music the world is just pathetic."
He described how he and Tashaûn, shared a passion for music, and that although Tashaûn was a "musician" and liked all genres, his favourite was drill music.
"It's violent music," said the barrister.
"Both the sound and words are violent," he replied. "The beats are vicious and the words aren't nice."
While he admitted he had been "associated with a gang" two years ago, he was adamant Tashaûn was "never ever" part of any gang.
"That's no lies," he said. "He just stuck to his music and liked smoking weed. That was it."
Another barrister, Brenda Campbell, introduced herself "representing the person who stole your bike", referring to Romaine Williams-Reid.
The person who stabbed you and the person who stole your bike - was that the same person?" she asked.
The boy replied: "I've been wondering that myself but I don't care. I'm in shock."
The trial continues.