FOUR young men hunted down members of a rival Coventry gang and fatally stabbed one of them as he tried to escape by climbing a garden fence, a jury has heard.
One of the four, Enroy Ruddock, is said to have stabbed 21-year-old Emmanuel Lukenga to the area of his buttocks, severing a major artery which led to him rapidly bleeding to death.
Ruddock, 19, of Melbourne Road, Coventry; Matthew Brankin, 19, of Thimber Road, Canley; Kyle Kinchen, 18, of John Rous Avenue, Coventry, and Bradley Richardson, 23, of Prior Deram Walk, Canley, have all pleaded not guilty to Mr Lukenga’s murder.
Behind them in the dock at Warwick Crown Court is Rilee Madden, 19, of Gerard Avenue, Canley, who denies handling a stolen motorbike said to have been used in the incident, and perverting the course of justice by helping to destroy evidence afterwards.
James Curtis QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “This is a tragically familiar story of our times, knife crime, senseless but deliberate, and group-driven – a man pursued and knifed in the bottom as he fled his attackers.
“Enroy Ruddock, Matthew Brankin, Kyle Kinchen and Bradley Richardson are charged with the murder, murder of a young man in another local group or gang.
“They were also charged with an offence of arson, torching a car connected with the young man who is the victim, and they have pleaded guilty to that.
“Rilee Madden is charged with handling a motorcycle which was central to this case and concealing evidence.”
Outlining the background to the incident, Mr Curtis said there was ‘a running feud’ between two groups of youths – ‘one group from the Canley area above Torrington Avenue, and the other from the Tile Hill area below Torrington Avenue.’
A powerful Triumph superbike was stolen from a garage in the area on June 11, and had its identity changed by Kinchen and Madden, while a Citroen Berlingo van was commandeered the next day from a person who was doing some work at Brankin’s home.
Mr Curtis continued: “The young man who is the victim, Emmanuel Lukenga, known as Manny, and young men from the Tile Hill group were targeted by the first four defendants for intimidation and extreme violence.
“These defendants met together during that morning, and they set off using both vehicles in a constant convoy, going back and forth, two in or on each vehicle.”
Mr Curtis said Kinchen was on the Triumph with Ruddock as his passenger and Brankin was driving the Berlingo with Richardson next to him, and at some stage they armed themselves with weapons including a knife, an axe and possibly a half-brick.
A green petrol can was filled at a nearby petrol station and passed from the van to Ruddock on the back of the motorbike as they ‘toured the area searching for their victims.’
Having found an address in Tile Hill where Manny Lukenga was with others, they went past repeatedly, ‘casing the joint,’ before they ‘torched’ a car parked outside the address.
After Mr Lukenga and his group left the house and went to some shops, the defendants toured the area hunting for them, and when they had tracked them down, one of the pair on the motorbike threatened them that they would be stabbed that night.
Two of the group were chased by Richardson wielding an axe and Ruddock, who had something behind his back, but took refuge in a corner shop, so no attack took place at that time.
Ruddock and Richardson returned to the vehicles and continued to scout the area for members of the rival group and found Manny Lukenga and others nearby.
“Both vehicles chased after them as they tried to escape,” said Mr Curtis.
“It’s not as if Manny or any of his group posed any threat whatsoever to this group, but they chased after them, and that escape by Manny’s group was up an alleyway between Tile Hill Lane and Gravel Hill.”
Mr Curtis said Ruddock and Richardson then chased after them on foot with their weapons as the group fled into the gardens of nearby houses in Franklin Grove.
“This was witnessed by astonished and frightened householders, some of whom had their children with them, and the gate of a garden was axed down by one of them as they chased the fleeing group.
“Ruddock caught up with Emmanuel Lukenga, who was the last to escape and was trying to climb a fence, a high fence, between two gardens.
“Ruddock stabbed him to death as he climbed that fence with one knife blow to the bottom area. It severed a vital artery in the perineum.
“Manny fell into the rear garden of one of those houses in Franklin Grove where he collapsed and died of a massive internal haemorrhage.”
Despite the efforts of paramedics who were swiftly on the scene, they were unable to save him, and meanwhile the attackers returned to Brankin’s home ‘on the Canley side of the main road.’
And Mr Curtis commented: “Now we come to an unpleasant part. Ruddock was so proud of what he had done that a few minutes later he posted a video on Snapchat boasting of stabbing someone.”
That was captured on his phone by one of Manny’s friends who recognised the speaker as Ruddock even though his face had been blanked out – and he forwarded it to someone who passed it to the police.
And Brankin had been caught on a CCTV camera outside his home ‘miming the events again and again.’
Mr Curtis said that after the stabbing Madden and other youths took various items to secluded areas and tried to dispose of them, with Madden trying to burn the petrol can and trying to destroy the motorbike and footwear in woodland.
And the knife was recovered from a brook near to where the other items were disposed of.
Much of what happened before and after the stabbing was captured on various CCTV cameras, dash cams and phones which were recovered following an extensive police trawl of the area, showing ‘just how desperately keen this group was to get to their victim’.
Mr Curtis added: “The case is put on the basis on joint enterprise. Although we say it is Enroy Ruddock who had the knife in his hand, the other three were undoubtedly participants in that determined attempt to catch Manny or his associates and cause him really serious harm.”
The trial, which is expected to last for six weeks either side of the Christmas and New Year break, continues.