Man accused of murder in Harold Hill block of flats was only there to deal Class A drugs, court told

Police and forensic team at the scene of the murder in Straight Road Harold Hill

Police and forensic team at the scene of the murder in Straight Road Harold Hill - Credit: Archant

A man accused of murdering a drug addict attended a probation meeting with a bag filled with Class A drugs before carrying out the brutal attack, a court heard.

Nathan Charles, 22, of Lowbrook Road, Ilford, told The Old Bailey he was at the scene of the murder to conduct a drug deal, and that he never knew the deceased, 28-year-old Liam Harman.

Liam, 28, was reportedly attacked by three men in a communal stairwell on July 11, 2017 in Straight Road, Harold Hill.

Cedric Kyiago, 21, with addresses in Romford and Harold Hill is also accused of Liam’s murder, along with Kamal Hamilton-Albert, 21, from Highfield Road in Woodford Green and Gleneson Mark, 23 from Whitta Road, Manor Park in Newham.

The trial’s four defendants deny murder.

In July 2017, seven days before Liam’s murder, Charles was released from prison, after being convicted of possession of cocaine and heroin.

On the day of Liam’s death, Charles attended a probation appointment in Ilford and got in touch with Kyiago.

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Charles told the court, “I told [Kyiago] I got drugs on me, and I asked him if I could bag up at his girl’s house.

“I told him after probation I’d call him.”

Charles kept his 2pm appointment with his probation officer on July 11, as is confirmed by CCTV cameras which show Charles entering the offices with a Louis Vuitton side bag.

He told the court that this bag had crack cocaine and heroine in it.

After this, Charles took a cab to Kyiago’s girlfriend’s house in Romford where he met with Hamilton-Albert and Mark, two of Charles’ friends whom he has known since his school days.

“They arrived, we chilled and smoked some weed and we drunk some alcohol,” Charles explained.

At around 10pm Charles left the house in Romford with Hamilton-Albert and Mark.

He told the court that the plan was for them to all go home.

Instead Hamilton-Albert drove them to a block of flats in Straight Road, Harold Hill, where Mark asked Hamilton-Albert to pull over so he could speak to someone about some drugs.

Charles cannot remember exactly what the man looked like.

They left the car and followed the man’s directions towards the back of the back of the flats in Harold Hill.

Charles told the court, “We were walking towards the block of flats, then we heard a scream.

“After that we look at each other, and we see a guy on a pedal bike in Straight Road.

“We get to the end of the alleyway and someone pops out from the right side of Straight Road and says ‘run’ three times.”

At this point, Charles was wearing two pairs of latex gloves, which he wore to avoid the possibility of police discovering that he had been handling drugs, the court heard.

As the three men ran from the flats in Straight Road, Charles tossed the gloves into some nearby flats.

These were later recovered by police with Charles’ DNA on them, the court was told.

Prior to his arrest, an empty swiss-knife box set was discovered at Charles’ family home.

A 8in chef’s knife, 8in carving knife, and a pair of scissors were missing from the set.

Charles told The Old Bailey that at the time of Liam’s murder, two of the knives were at a friend of a friend’s house and he had been using the scissors to cut up the drugs.

He denies ever knowing Liam Harman and denies attacking him.

The trial continues.