Gang armed with machete and knives killed boy, 16, in Gloucester, court told

Ramarni Crosby thought he was going to a fistfight but was stabbed to death in confrontation with eight teenagers, jury hears

A 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death by a gang armed with a machete, meat cleaver and knives after turning up for what he believed was a fistfight to settle a dispute, a jury has been told.

Ramarni Crosby suffered stab wounds including to his chest and head during the confrontation in Gloucester with eight teenagers wearing purple bandanas over their faces, Bristol crown court heard.

CCTV footage taken from properties in the Barton area of the city shows Ramarni running away after being attacked, but then slowing up and collapsing.

Dean Smith, 19, two 17-year-olds, three 16-year-olds and two 15-year-olds are accused of the murder on 15 December last year.

Adam Vaitilingam QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “The background to the stabbing was a rivalry between two groups of young men in Gloucester.”

About a week earlier, there had been a fight between one of the 16-year-old defendants and one of Ramarni’s friends.

Vaitilingam said: “On the day of the killing itself, those two messaged each other again and arranged to meet up for a fight. Ramarni’s friend says the fight would be between the five in his group, which included Ramarni, and five from the 16-year-old defendant’s group.”

Another friend of Ramarni’s who was there later said that as the rival group approached they could see there were eight of them.

“Ramarni’s friend could see they were carrying a bunch of knives and weapons. He and the friends group ran off, but Ramarni stayed and swung punches. He didn’t see Ramarni get stabbed. He saw a lot of weapons and they were all on Ramarni.”

The court heard that witnesses saw the defendants wearing purple bandanas pulled up over their faces.

Vaitilingam said none of the eight defendants were arrested at the scene – allowing them to dispose of mobile phones and weapons, including two knives, a machete and a meat cleaver.

“A machete was found in a canal by police divers, which is clearly linked to these defendants,” the prosecutor said. Two other knives and a meat cleaver were found in drains near the scene. The prosecutor said that the police were only able to seize three of the defendants’ mobile phones.

The court heard that the teenager suffered six wounds to his body, including a fatal stabbing to his chest, as well as stab injuries to his upper back, upper left arm, lower arm and top of his head.

Smith, of Gloucester and his seven co-accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny murder.

A ninth defendant, Keishaleigh Margrett-Whitter, 19, of Tyseley, Birmingham, denies two charges of assisting an offender. It is alleged she provided one of the defendants with a change of clothing.

The trial continues.


Steven Morris

The GuardianTramp