6th Jul, 2022

Mum denies knowing son Ryan Preston had stabbed fatally wounded Daniel Kennell when she drove him away

Les Reid 16th Jan, 2019

A COVENTRY mother told the police she had no idea her son had stabbed a man in the street when she drove him away from the scene, leaving victim Daniel Kennell dying on the ground.

Tracey Preston (54) of Hermitage Road, Coventry, has pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to assisting an offender, knowing or believing him to be guilty of murder.

Next to her in the dock is her son Ryan Preston (27) of the same address, who has denied murdering Mr Kennell by stabbing him during an incident on Sunday July 8 last year.

The jury has heard the stabbing took place near to 27-year-old Mr Kennell’s home in St Austell Road, Coventry, during an altercation between the two men.

And as he lay dying in the road, Tracey Preston, who had driven her son there, drove him away from the scene.

The two men, who had known each-other since they were at school, had clashed earlier in Caludon Castle park where there was a scuffle between them, said prosecutor John Butterfield QC.

During the confrontation Ryan Preston had phoned his mother, but at some point he dropped his phone which was picked up and thrown away by Mr Kennell, who then left to walk home.

It was said that Ryan Preston believed or claimed that Mr Kennell had gone off with his car keys and phone, and had asked his mother to bring him his spare key.

And the jury heard what Tracey Preston said about that when she was interviewed following her arrest, with Dc Melanie Smith reading out the questions in court and the replies being given by Andrew Wallace, prosecuting with Mr Butterfield.

Mrs Preston told the officers: “I received a call from Ryan to say he was in Caludon Park and Danny had gone off with his keys, and can I take his spare car key to him.

“I said I’m shopping, and he said don’t worry about it. When I got to the checkout I got another call from Ryan saying ‘bring me my keys, mum, come to Caludon Park now.’

“He was pissed off because Danny had gone off with his keys. He’s done it before. Danny’s a joker, so I didn’t think anything of it. They had probably fell out. He said Danny has put him on his arse.”

She explained that because it was on her way home, she went straight to the park to see what was going on, without first going to get the car key.

Mrs Preston said that when she arrived, Ryan got into her car and told her: “Take me to Danny’s house.”

She was asked whether he had made any threats about what he was going to do, but replied: “No. He was just pissed off that they had fallen out again, and just wanted to get his keys back.”

Asked what conversation there was during the journey, Tracey Preston said: “I was ranting at him. ‘I’m sick of you, I’m sick of you both, I’ve told you to stay away from him.’”

She continued: “We drove, looking out for Danny along the way. When we got to Danny’s house in St Austell Road, Ryan got out of the car, and I said ‘I’m leaving you to it, I’m going.’

“I thought boys will be boys, just let him sort it out himself. I drove round the corner, but then thought I’d better go back. He was at the front door, knocking at the door as I drove past him.”

She said she then saw Mr Kennell further down the road, so stopped the car and went over to him and told him to give her the keys to her son’s car.

“He gave me the keys. I said ‘I’m sick of the two of you. Leave him alone.’ I was just annoyed because they’re doing this stuff all the time. They’re like a pair of kids.”She said she got back in the car, and when she looked back, she saw Ryan walking down the middle of the road towards Danny ‘doing that sort of come on business.’

“They was in the middle of the road, sort of goading each-other. I thought, leave ‘em to it.

“I thought maybe they was going to come to blows. At that point Ryan didn’t know I’d got his keys. I was going to drive off and leave them to it.

“But I didn’t want them fighting. I turned my car round. I thought I need to stop this. I pulled into the nearest slot.

“As I went to get out of the car, just about to get out, Ryan approached on the passenger side and got in and said ‘Just go mum.’

“I took him to Caludon Park. I left Ryan in the car park and then I went home. Pretty much after I had put the shopping away, the police turned up.”

She said that in the car he had not said he had done anything to Danny, and asked whether she saw anything as she drove away, Mrs Preston replied: “I didn’t give it a glance.”

The officer asked: “At any stage did you have any idea that Danny had been stabbed?” She answered: “No I didn’t.”

And asked whether she had every known her son to carry a knife, she responded: “Never.”

The jury has heard that when Ryan Preston was interviewed he gave ‘no comment’ answers – but in a prepared statement he accepted he had damaged Mr Kennell’s car outside the house.

He said that in the street Mr Kennell had come at him ‘like a mad bull,’ and that he only got the knife out to protect himself by scaring Mr Kennell away.

Preston said Mr Kennell had got injured in the ensuing scuffle, adding: “I did not realised he had been stabbed until he fell sideways onto the grass.” The trial continues.

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