9th Dec, 2016

Five men shared 'murderous intent' in fatal stabbing of teenager Daniel Kirkwood

Coventry Editorial 19th Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A GROUP of young men allegedly shared a ‘murderous intent’ in killing 18-year-old Daniel Kirkwood at a Coventry nightclub, a jury has been told.

Appearing at Warwick Crown Court, Tobijah Thompson, Hasham Ali, Ramez Murtaza, Ezra Scott and Zaker Khan, all from Birmingham, have pleaded not guilty to the teenager’s murder outside Society nightclub in March last year.

It is alleged that 25-year-old Thompson, of no fixed address, was armed with the knife that was used to stab Daniel and wound two of the youngster’s friends – Nigel Mkhwananzi and Niall Kavanagh – with intent to cause them grievous bodily harm.

But is has also been alleged that the four others in the dock – 21-year-old Murtaza of Bordesley Green; 25-year-old Khan of Belchers Lane, Small Heath; Scott, aged 32, of Hawksyard Road, Erdington; and 19-year-old Ali of Great Barr – shared in Thompson’s ‘murderous intent’ or knew he had a knife.

Prosecutor Michael Burrows QC told the jury: “This case concerns an outbreak of violence at the Society night club in Coventry at just before 2am on Sunday the 15th of March last year.

“In short, the prosecution say the defendants acted together to attack another group present in the club.

“They stabbed and killed Daniel Kirkwood, they stabbed and wounded Nigel Mkhwananzi, they stabbed and wounded Niall Kavanagh, and they assaulted and injured Christopher O’Brien.”

All five defendants deny charges of violent disorder, wounding Mr Mkhwananzi and Mr Kavanagh, and assaulting Mr O’Brien, while Thompson has also pleaded not guilty to possessing an offensive weapon, a knife, in the nightclub.

Upon arriving at the nightclub, the group moved a metal barrier to bypass the queue and, unlike others, were not stopped and searched by bouncers.

CCTV inside the club caught some of the violence and pictures of Thompson show he had a man-bag under his jacket – which is suggested to have contained the knife.

Daniel and his friends, who were celebrating Mr O’Brien’s 18th birthday, arrived at 1.15am and were searched as they went in.

Speaking to a girl they knew, who had been given Hasham Ali’s number, Mr O’Brien jokingly pushed her – alerting the attention of Ali who went over to confront him.

Mr Burrows suggests CCTV shows Thompson falling over before reaching for something around his waist – appearing to have ‘something shiny in his hand’.

Mr Burrows said Mr Mkhwananzi had tried to pull Mr O’Brien away and as he turned to go outside felt what he thought was a punch to his back.

The court heard there was a moment when Tobijah Thompson was behind him.

The jury were told Mr Mkhwananzi did not feel any pain at the time, but then saw blood on his top and began to gasp for breath – having suffered a stab wound that has cut his spleen, caused a tear to his diaphragm and collapsed his lung.

Mr Mkhwananzi lost consciousness and was taken to hospital.

Mr Kavanagh was also stabbed in his left arm, causing severed ligaments and nerve damange which he has still not recovered from.

Mr O’Brien was held in a headlock and punched by two of the defendants before being kicked and stamped on – a witness identifing Khan as an attacker.

While the attack on Daniel was not caught on camera, Mr Burrows said CCTV images show Thompson taking a flying kick at Daniel, holding something in his hand, and red spots of what the prosecution believes is blood appearing on his t-shirt.

Witness Jordan Williams went to Daniel’s aid after he saw someone matching Murtaza’s description punching the 18-year-old.

After punching Thompson Mr Williams was being dragged out by a bouncer when he saw Thompson pull something out and move towards his friends making stabbing motions.

A few moments later Daniel Kirkwood came outside with his face covered in blood, holding his neck.

Mr Burrows added: “At first he thought he had a nosebleed, but then saw there was blood coming from his neck. He tried to stem the flow and shouted for help.”

Inside the club a bouncer, alerted by screams, saw Daniel on his knees with blood on him and a black man, believed to have been Thompson, making a stabbing motion towards his neck with a knife.

As well as being stabbed, Daniel had been hit over the head with a bottle by someone Mr Burrows suggested was Scott.

The defendants left the club and drove past Daniel lying bleeding on the ground when Murtaza shouted abuse at him and his friends.

Daniel went into cardiac arrest on the journey to hospital and he was pronounced dead at 2.50am.

The trial continues.