Danby and O’Toole blame each other for delivering Luke Harwood death blow

Luke Harwood, 18, from Havering

Luke Harwood, 18, from Havering - Credit: Archant

Two men accused of killing Harold Hill teenager Luke Harwood have blamed each other for delivering the death blow, a court heard.

James Danby, 27, is said to have headed a gang who murdered Luke, 18, on May 27 last year.

It was said Luke’s head was stamped on and it was planned to remove his fingers and teeth to prevent his body being indentified, the court has been told.

But Danby blamed co-defendant Tony O’Toole for actually killing Luke.

“Suddenly and unexpectedly Tony O’Toole kicked and stamped on Luke Harwood’s head,” he told the Old Bailey last week.

In turn, O’Toole, 29, called Danby a “monster” who killed Luke after a night of “non-stop violence”.

O’Toole told jurors he watched as Danby first tried to strangle the victim and then stamped on his head in a field in Woodford Green.

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O’Toole said: “I walked off. I felt sick. I was horrified. The only way I can describe it is, it felt like someone ripped my guts out.”

The court heard how earlier that day Luke had moved into a council house in Crow Lane, Romford, occupied by Danby, Jovan Roberts, 28, O’Toole and his girlfriend Emma Hall, 21. It is claimed he was attacked by the group after a 16-year-old girl visiting the building branded him a rapist, though she dropped her complaint to police.

O’Toole said he saw Danby “beating up” Luke in one of the bedrooms but did not intervene out of fear of Danby’s response.

Hall then drove O’Toole, Danby and Luke to the field in Woodford Green.

O’Toole said: “As I walked off, Danby let go of Luke and kicked him in the head. He stamped on his head.

“I still don’t believe what happened. I felt sorry for what happened to Luke.”


O’Toole said he signed up for the Army hoping to join the Royal Logistic Corps but dropped out after his superiors accepted that he felt he could not kill someone.

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 Khalid Hassan, 20, deny perverting the course of justice.

All the defendants lived in Crow Lane, except Roberts, who is of no fixed address. The trial continues.