March 21, 2022 7.46 pm

Sam Davies murder trial: Accused attacked fellow defendant after court hearing

Trial now in its 11th week

The Sam Davies murder trial has been told that a 17-year-old defendant was attacked by a co-accused while they were on remand.

The boy – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – was hit on the head more than once by Charlie Wakefield last December, the jury heard.

The boy was called a “snitch” during the attack, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

The trial has previously heard that another of the seven defendants, Eimantas Gochman, tried to attack co-defendant Eric Kesel while they were in court last December.

The trial resumed on Monday, March 21 after a week-long break due to a juror having COVID-19, one of a number of delays.

Another juror has now been discharged due to them suffering practical difficulties with the extended time of the trial, now in its 11th week.

Mr Davies, 23, was fatally stabbed by defendant Gochman, who was 19 at time. It happened just after 10.45pm on May 27 last year in a grassed area between Lincoln’s Coleridge Gardens and Browning Drive.

Gochman went to Wakefield’s house after the attack and the 17-year-old boy was there too. He and Gochman spent the night drinking vodka and taking drugs.

The boy’s barrister, Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC, asked him: “Did you think of [Wakefield] as a friend?”

“I did at the time, yeah,” he replied.

“What do you think now?” said Mr Campbell-Tiech.

“No,” said the boy.

“Did something happen in particular to change your mind?” asked the barrister.

“When we came to court on December 3, he assaulted me,” replied the boy. “I was walking back from the court and he came from behind and just said ‘snitch’.

“And then he hit me two or three times. In the back of the head and just above the eye.”

The boy was asked if he understood what Wakefield was referring to.

He replied: “Yeah, some of the things I said at the police station in my interview.”

The boy claimed that he was “scared” of 21-year-old Wakefield but kept friends with him because he thought that was the best course of action. He said Wakefield had previously arranged for him to be beaten up.

The boy’s evidence is that he had been sent from Wakefield’s house, in a taxi paid for by Wakefield, to buy cocaine for the pair of them from co-defendant Eric Kesel. The deal, which the boy had paid for, was completed in Coleridge Gardens before he returned to the waiting taxi and was taken back to Wakefield’s house in Broxholme Gardens.

The boy, who knew Gochman, said he had seen him in the middle of the park. It’s accepted that Gochman was wearing dark clothes with a hood up and had a face mask on. 

“Did you recognise him immediately?” asked Mr Campbell-Tiech.

“No,” replied the boy.

He was asked: “When did you recognise him?”

“When he came to Charlie’s,” he answered.

The boy said Gochman seemed “stressed out” and “all over the place” and was shutting all the doors and windows and lowering the kitchen blind.

“How did Charlie react?” asked Mr Campbell-Tiech.

The boy said: “He was just asking ‘what’s up?’ I wasn’t really listening in because I was out of my head.”

The boy said Gochman then took his clothes off and asked Wakefield to wash them.

He went on: “I heard Gochman saying ‘I’ve stabbed someone’. At the time I didn’t think anything of it. I was drunk and sniffed. I thought they were just messing about, having a joke.”

The jury was told that the boy, who was arrested on June 16, did not react well to being held in custody and made attempts to seriously self-harm.

Mr Campbell-Tiech had opened his questioning of his client by asking him: “Did you have anything whatever to do with the death of Sam Davies? Did you know about an attack? Did you know him? Did you bear him any grudge?”

To each of the four questions, the boy replied “no”.

Gordon Aspden QC, representing Gochman, suggested to the boy that as he had been arrested more than a fortnight after the attack, the boy had trouble “disentangling” what actually happened with what he had heard and seen in the interim.

The boy told police that Gochman had phoned Wakefield in the afternoon on the day of the attack to ask if he had any gloves he could borrow. He said Wakefield gave Gochman a pair outside Co-op in Woodhall Drive while the boy was inside.

The boy admitted to Mr Aspden in court that he had not seen an exchange of gloves.

“We can’t really rely on everything because you’re not sure what happened,” added the barrister.

Meanwhile, earlier on Monday, Kesel had completed giving his evidence.

He claims he turned round from completing two drug deals in Coleridge Gardens to see Gochman stabbing Mr Davies.

He then followed Gochman out of the park and along Browning Drive, where both stopped outside Kesel’s house.

The prosecution says Kesel then handed Mr Davies’ phone to Gochman. Kesel says he did not pick up the phone and Gochman only spoke to him to warn him to keep quiet about what he had just witnessed.

Kesel was the first defendant to tell detectives that Gochman was the stabber.

He has admitted to telling several lies in his statements, which he claims was to prevent bringing Wakefield into the investigation and to not disclose his dealing of class A drugs at the scene.

He told William Harbage QC, for the prosecution: “I thought if I give them Goch, they will see that I’m not involved and they will let me go. But that wasn’t the case.

“So what was I meant to do? The system is made to break people like me. I’m a drug dealer so they thought ‘he must be involved in this murder’ and they sent me to prison.” 

Mr Harbage completed his cross-examination by suggesting to Kesel that he was a “lookout” for Gochman’s attack.

He added: “We have seen from the interviews that you lie when it suits you.

“You accept that you saw what Mr Gochman did but you are lying about your involvement to try and save your skin, aren’t you?”

Kesel replied: “I’m not lying because there is no involvement. You just assume there is.”

The jury was shown fresh evidence of silent CCTV footage from a holding room at prison when Kesel and co-defendants Joe Jameson and Daniel Heydari were present with three other prisoners not involved in the case.

Heydari – who was supposed to be kept apart from Jameson – goes over to him, sits down and leans towards him as he speaks. Jameson doesn’t make eye contact, instead looking down at his hands.

Kesel claims that Heydari asked Jameson if he felt bad for not admitting that it was Jameson who had sent messages from Heydari’s phone about “needing someone dipped up” (stabbed) and “there’s five there”, said by the prosecution to mean a £5,000 bounty.

Mr Harbage suggested to Kesel that it was Heydari “getting to” Jameson and that Kesel didn’t hear anything about the messages.

All seven defendants face one count of murder, which they all deny.

They are Billy Gill, 21, of Hatcliffe Gardens; Daniel Heydari, 25, of Chestnut Street; Joe Jameson, 24, of Whitehall Terrace; Eimantas Gochman, 20, of Sturton Close; Eric Kesel, 19, of Browning Drive; and Charlie Wakefield, 21, of Broxholme Gardens.

A 17-year-old boy cannot be legally identified due to his age.

Jameson is also accused of making a threat to kill, which he denies.

— The trial continues

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