Murder trial: Teenager claims he acted in self-defence during a staged robbery at a Leamington flat
Nasir Patrice, 17, collapsed and died in the street after being stabbed with a sword
A teenage drug dealer was the target of a set-up to rob him when he stabbed two of three youths who had burst into the Leamington flat where he had spent the night, it has been alleged.
One of the three, 17-year-old Nasir Patrice, collapsed and died in the street outside the flat in Tachbrook Road as a result of two of the wounds he suffered.
The youth accused of inflicting them, who is now 17 but was 16 at the time, is standing trial at Warwick Crown Court after pleading not guilty to Nasir’s murder in January last year.
The teenager, who is from the Lewisham area of London but cannot be named because of his age, has also denied the attempted murder of one of Nasir’s friends.
Prosecutor Michael Burrows QC has told the jury that the background to the incident was a clash between rival drug dealers.
The defendant, who was staying at a guesthouse in Warwick with three companions, Richard ‘Rico’ Talawila, Abraham Kombey and William Hutsch, has been described as a ‘runner’ supplying drugs.
He had spent the night at the flat of Natasha Owen in Tachbrook Road, where she also allowed homeless Christopher Galvin to stay on occasions.
Mr Galvin said the defendant, who was initially there with Taliwala and a third youth, had an ornamental sword which he kept in his hand all the time and kept swinging it around.
The next morning Miss Owen was out when Mr Galvin was woken by the defendant, who was the only other person there at the time, so he contacted Miss Owen who said she was on her way back.
He told the jury that when he heard a knock on the door he assumed it was her and opened it – but was confronted by Nasir and his two friends, and was punched as they pushed their way in.
As the three of them headed into the lounge, where the defendant was, Mr Galvin ran outside, but heard shouting and screaming and someone shouting: “Put it down, put it down.”
Within a minute or so the three men came out screaming for help, before Nasir collapsed in the street, and thirty seconds later the defendant came out and ‘smirked’ before running off.
The jury has heard that the defendant says he was being robbed by the three and had acted in self-defence.
Questioned by Adam Davis QC, defending, Mr Galvin agreed he had a drug habit costing up to £120 a day at the time, but had since ‘pretty much cleaned up [his] act.’
And observing that his only income was selling the Big Issue, Mr Davis remarked: “That’s a lot of Big Issues to sell in Leamington a day.”
Mr Davis suggested that among numbers Mr Galvin had on his phone were those of Nasir and the other man who was stabbed.
But Mr Galvin said he did not know any of the three men who burst into the flat, and did not know they were coming.
He agreed he would ‘try to get in with dealers’ by taking people to them to buy drugs in return for which he would be given some for free, and accepted Miss Owen ‘was not lending her flat out of the goodness of her heart, and was getting drugs for it.’
Mr Galvin said as far as he was concerned the defendant was Rico’s ‘runner,’ but he denied helping him with deliveries.
Mr Davis put to him: “The knife: I suggest he only took it out the once, to show you. He didn’t have it with him at all times.”
Mr Galvin replied: “He took it out of the sheath once, and was brandishing it about.”
When Mr Davis put to him that he would not have been able to see past the three men who burst in to see whether he had the knife at that moment, he answered: “No, but he had it a few moments before when I went to answer the buzzer.”
Mr Davis suggested: “When these three men came into the flat you knew what this was all about. You knew it was going to be a violent robbery.”
Mr Galvin, who agreed the three must have known the defendant was there, replied: “You can sort of guess that.”
It was suggested he knew the men turning up at the flat was not an accident, and he said: “It could have been a set-up.”
Mr Davis: “You also knew Tasha was involved in the set-up.” Mr Galvin replied: “Not until afterwards.”
And Mr Davis asked him: “Were you involved in that set-up?” But Mr Galvin responded: “No.”
Following his death, Nasir’s body was examined by forensic pathologist Dr Alexander Kolar who described the four wounds he had suffered to the jury.
The trial continues.