Daniel Laskos: Footage played of moment teen chased by aggressors
- Credit: Met Police
Footage of the "terrifying" moment a gang of armed attackers ran towards Daniel Laskos before stabbing him to death has been shown to jurors at the Old Bailey.
Six youths are on trial for murdering 16-year-old Daniel, who was attacked outside Church Road News and Wine convenience store in Harold Wood just before 7pm on May 7 last year.
The court heard that a group - some of whom wore balaclavas as others wielded knives, a baton and a pole - worked together to inflict a "deep and fatal stab wound" on Daniel's neck.
The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene within half an hour - despite the best efforts of emergency services and a nurse who had witnessed the attack.
Joshua Kerr, 19, of Armstrong Avenue in Woodford Green; Callum Hands, 20, of Vincent Road in Dagenham; Rakeem Green-Matthews, 19, of Gulderose Road in Harold Wood; Loushawn Barnes, 19, of Little Aston Road in Harold Wood; Renee Saint Ange, 18, of Woodstock Avenue in Harold Wood; and a 16-year-old boy who cannot be named all stand accused of Daniel's murder.
They all deny the charge - although the 16-year-old has admitted manslaughter - the jury has been told.
Opening the trial on Monday and Tuesday - March 14 and 15 - prosecutor William Emlyn Jones told jurors that Daniel and his friend had been out on "what was a nice and sunny early summer's evening" and had popped into the convenience store.
But as they emerged they saw a group of youths heading towards them.
"There were six members of that group, and they are the six defendants sitting in the dock," said Mr Emlyn Jones. "Their reaction was immediate and it was terrifying.
"Between the six of them they were heavily armed; they drew their weapons and they ran at Daniel [and his friend]."
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The QC continued: "They break into a sprint and rush straight at them. They wasted no time in arming themselves, resulting in Joshua Kerr taking his knife out of his trousers within just a couple of seconds.
"There was no discussion - they plainly knew what to do upon seeing their target."
Daniel was carrying two knives, one of which he handed to his friend upon seeing the aggressors, the court was told.
"They briefly stood their ground, but only briefly, because they were of course heavily outnumbered, so they turned and ran away," said Mr Emlyn Jones.
Footage of a group chasing Daniel and his friend - with some holding their weapons above their heads - was played to the jury.
The moment the teenager was stabbed was just out of view and not captured on camera.
Kerr is accused of wearing a balaclava and carrying a large 'Rambo' hunting style knife with a foot-long blade, while Green-Matthews and Hands are accused of having smaller knives.
It's further claimed that the 16-year-old boy had a heavy metal telescopic truncheon - of the same kind issued to Met police officers - while Barnes allegedly had a two-foot long metal pole which remained inside his clothing throughout as he was riding a scooter.
Although Saint Ange "didn't get close enough to have caused any injury himself", prosecutors maintain he was part of the group, and that his place at the back was "just a matter of chance".
While two of the group also sustained injuries - the 16-year-old was stabbed near his shoulder; Kerr likewise in his arm - the prosecution insists Daniel and his friend were "simply defending themselves from an armed attack".
Mr Emlyn Jones claims this is clear to see from the CCTV footage.
"Kerr and Green-Matthews do go out of shot and either would have been in a position to stab the victim," he said. "But the prosecution's case is that in fact it does not matter which one of the six defendants inflicted the fatal stab wound.
"The CCTV shows a group of six acting together as a team. Encouraged by their strength in numbers and their variety of friends, they jointly committed the attack."
Addressing jurors at the Central Criminal Court, the QC argued the footage demonstrated the group's "shared intention" to seriously injure or kill Daniel, his friend - or both.
"Ultimately they succeeded in that task," he added, reaffirming to the jury that a person can be found guilty of murder even if they're not physically involved - what matters is intention.
Mr Emlyn Jones told jurors that Daniel's friend had declined to give a witness statement, and that while he did not know what had led to the conflict, there was "plainly" a problem between the victim and his attackers.
"We know Daniel Laskos went out that day carrying not one, but two knives so it looks as thought he was anticipating trouble," said the prosecutor.
Mr Emlyn Jones then went through each of the six teenagers' defences to the murder charge.
Barnes claims he did not participate in the violence, and that he didn't know the others were planning a violent attack.
He said he was carrying his weapon for protection, and that he kept his hands on his scooter throughout the incident.
Green-Matthews claims that after he noticed Daniel and his friend had knives, he assumed his friends were taking out their weapons to scare them, leading him to do the same.
Kerr claims self-defence, arguing that he got stabbed while tending to the 16-year-old who had been similarly injured.
Saint Ange said he was not expecting or planning on any violence, claiming that he didn't have a weapon and that he held back during the attack.
Hands admits having a knife but claims he watched the violence unfold - rather than partake himself.
The 16-year-old has admitted manslaughter, however.
According to Mr Emlyn Jones, this means he accepts he was "part of a group using unlawful violence".
"Manslaughter is a lesser alternative to murder and the prosecution do not accept that, which is why he is on trial for murder," he explained.
The trial continues.