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Ayodeji Habeeb Azzeez murder trial: Alleged killer was trying to stop attack, court hears

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 November 2019

Ayodeji Habeeb Azeez from Dagenham who was fatally stabbed in Anerley. Picture: Met Police

Ayodeji Habeeb Azeez from Dagenham who was fatally stabbed in Anerley. Picture: Met Police

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An alleged killer couldn't have fatally stabbed a Dagenham man in an Anerley car park because he had been trying to stop the attack, a court has heard.

Ayodeji Habeeb Azeez believed he was meeting a 17-year old girl he had been chatting to on Snapchat when he was driving to the car park on November 4 last year.

Instead the 22-year old was stabbed 16 times suffering wounds to his torso, back and shoulders before dying in Samos Road.

Brandon Griffith, 20, of Malcolm Close, Penge; Chaise Gray, 24, of Harding Court, South Norwood; Kevin Lusala, 22, of Eldred Drive, Orpington; Jamie Marshall, 18, of Burham Close, Penge and a girl from Croydon who can't be named for legal reasons, deny murder and conspiracy to rob.

An Old Bailey jury heard today (November 20) that Ayodeji had already been stabbed before Mr Lusala joined friends in Samos Road.

Jurors heard Mr Lusala had been partying at a flat in Brook Brown House, but after returning from buying takeaway saw others leave saying "the weed man" had arrived.

Julia Smart QC, summarising Mr Lusala's defence, said: "[Mr Lusala] found himself in Samos Road where the weed man was scheduled to be.

"He came across the scene, in the middle of it, separating out the fight that had undoubtedly begun. The stabbing had already taken place."

Ms Smart cast doubt on evidence given by two prosecution witnesses who had been with Mr Lusala at Brook Brown House and travelled with him to his mother's address in Orpington on the day of Ayodeji's death.

Jurors heard that both girls had bought a litre of Captain Morgan rum before the party, another 70cl bottle from an offie while at the gathering and were "topping up" on vodka the next morning.

Ms Smart described the pair as "pre-loading, loading and post-loading" strong spirits.

"With that degree of excessive drinking, there will be blanks in accounts," she said.

One of the 17-year olds had described in court seeing blood on Mr Lusala's T-shirt, saying it looked like someone had been paintballing.

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The teenager had told the court Mr Lusala had put on a grey, North Face jacket to cover up the blood before leaving Brook Brown House.

But Ms Smart pointed out that CCTV evidence showed the jacket was open.

She accused the girls of piecing together a story based on snippets of information they had picked up from various sources, having not been at the car park themselves.

One of the teenage witnesses had reported someone at Brook Brown House saying to Mr Lusala, "Are you bleeding? Is this your blood?"

The girl had told the court Mr Lusala had replied: "It's the boy's blood."

But Ms Smart told jurors her client's response was consistent with his putting himself between someone and a knife during a fight.

She added that the girls were "feeding off" the reaction at the time of Mr Gray, who was now "pointing the finger" at Mr Lusala.

Ms Smart told the jury the girls' evidence could be "contaminated", questioning how many different people they had spoken before going to the police.

"By the time those girls took the brave and right decision to contact the police, there had been many opportunities for their unvarnished accounts to be subtly changed," she said.

Mr Lusala's account was "not inconsistent" with the eyewitness account of a woman living near the car park and a coat covered in blood showed no "forensic links" to him, Ms Smart added.

A hallway cupboard at Brook Brown House where Ayodeji's wallet was found had Mr Gray's fingerprints on it and not Mr Lusala's, the court heard.

The first he could appreciate what had happened to Ayodeji was when he heard about it on Good Morning Britain, the court heard.

On the girls' testimony, Ms Smart told jurors: "Drawing the strands together of the prosecution's case - the witnesses you heard from - you need to consider their evidence with some degree of care."

The trial continues.

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