A rap star was acquitted of involvement in violent disorder during a mass brawl in which his friend was fatally stabbed, but was convicted of possession of a bottle as an assault weapon.
Furnace resident Pa Salieu, who shortly after the brawl admitted to a second charge of violent disorder in connection with assaulting a man, will now be sentenced to a date to be determined.
The 24-year-old told his trial at Warwick Crown Court he used the bottle to defend himself after ‘sipping’ brandy and Jägermeister – and chased a man across Coventry’s ring road to disarm him because he thought he had a knife.
Prosecutors had alleged that Salieu was guilty of a violent disorder when he joined a group who pursued and cornered Ikemefuna Okosisi-Ezeanyika during a disorder at Hertford Place and Junction Street in Coventry, resulting in the death of Fidel Glasgow led.
The court was told that Salieu and three other defendants have not been charged with any crime arising out of the death of the 21-year-old – the grandson of Specials singer Neville Staple – in 2018.
Salieu, from Hillfields, was on trial alongside 25-year-olds Michael Mistouflet, Meidel Dange and Adil Naseer, who also denied taking part in a violent disorder in which Mr Glasgow was fatally injured.
The jury cleared Dange of Henley Green and Naseer of Foleshill, both Coventry, of violent disorder but convicted Mistouflet, who was also found guilty of possession of a belt as an offensive weapon.
Salieu, the winner of the BBC’s Sound Of 2021 award, Mistouflet from Binley and Naseer had all admitted separate charges related to violent disturbances that occurred after Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika fled via the Coventry ring road and made his way into Queen Victoria Road.
Salieu, Mistouflet and Naseer are being convicted along with six other defendants, aged between 21 and 29, who at previous hearings admitted to a range of charges including violent disorder.
video of the day
Salieu spoke from the witness stand before the jury and was taken frame by frame through CCTV footage showing Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika on 1 Eazi.
The rapper, who appeared in court under his full name Pa Salieu Gaye, said of Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika: “I just saw him walking back. At this point everyone is screaming.”
Salieu claimed he heard Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika say: “I have something for you, you think you’re bad,” adding: “At that point I thought he had a knife.
“My intention in banging that bottle (on the floor) was to warn him.
“At that point, I thought he’d gotten something — I was just thinking the worst.”
When Salieu answered questions from his lawyer, Jonathan Woodcock, Salieu claimed he and a large number of others hunted Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika to disarm him after someone said: “He’s got a shank.”
“I only followed him to disarm him. That’s what I believed in,” said Salieu.
The court heard the bottle was taken by security guards from Salieu ahead of the chase, which was caught on CCTV as it headed towards Coventry’s inner ring road.
Salieu said he bent down to pick up a second bottle and was unaware Mr Glasgow had been stabbed until after the incident.
The court heard Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika, who later underwent successful emergency surgery for a stab wound to his abdomen, was “bottled up” on Queen Victoria Road.
During his testimony, Salieu claimed he tried to stop someone from hitting Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika with a bottle but acknowledged hitting him with a stick before realizing he wasn’t armed with a gun .
Detective Inspector Michelle Allen said: “We are still actively investigating Fidel’s murder and are staying in touch with his family to keep them informed of developments.
“While these convictions are unrelated to the attack on Fidel, it is our deepest desire to bring someone to justice for their death and we will investigate any leads that come up.
“We continue to urge anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to come forward.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/rapper-cleared-of-disorder-charge-related-to-brawl-which-saw-his-friend-stabbed-41488362.html The rapper has been cleared of disturbance charges in connection with a brawl in which his boyfriend was stabbed