Sylvester Silcott murder trial: Accused Rowmando Lewis claims he saw 'two men running away' from victim's body
PUBLISHED: 09:30 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:12 18 September 2018
The man accused of stabbing Tyrone Silcott to death claims he saw two men running away from the scene who could have been suspects - but only let police know about them five months after the killing.
Rowmando Lewis, 28, claims Mr Silcott had “asked him to go outside” at a party in Towpath Walk, Homerton, early on March 18.
Lewis said he had waded into an argument between Mr Silcott, known as Sylvester, and a girl who had taken a DJ’s mic, telling Sylvester “he shouldn’t speak to the lady like that”.
He told jurors at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday he went to get a drink of Wray and Nephew rum from the kitchen, before going outside “three or four minutes later”. When he finally went out he saw “some people running off”.
Lewis, a dad-of-two from Montserrat who came to England a decade ago, described how he saw Sylvester “crouched a bit with his back to the railings”.
He then saw him collapse, he added, but finished his rum before he walked towards him. It was then that he “noticed blood”.
“I thought he was drunk,” he said. “I froze when I saw the blood, I was about to pick him up and I froze. There was a lot of things going through my head. I blacked out for a bit. Then I heard Omarlie [Cabey, another party guest] coming towards me asking: ‘What have you done that for? Look what you’ve done.’”
Prosecutor Mr Atkinson asked Lewis why he then left the scene without doing anything to help Sylvester.
“People were screaming my name saying I had done it and they were calling the police,” said Lewis. “I didn’t want to be arrested for something I didn’t do.” Sylvester died half an hour later of a stab wound to the neck that went through his thyroid gland, windpipe, and the carotid artery, which takes blood to the brain.
Lewis claims he found out Sylvester had died the next day on social media, and handed himself into police when he realised he was wanted for questioning, answering “no comment” to every question in an interview.
“The police asked you if you were responsible for Sylvester’s murder – the answer to that would have been?” asked Mr Atkinson.
“No comment,” replied Lewis.
“The answer to that would have been?” he repeated.
“Why say two words when you could have said one?” asked Mr Atkinson. “You were being asked if you were responsible for killing someone. Why on earth didn’t you say ‘no’?”
“I was advised by my solicitor.”
“Did you need to see what the evidence was going to be, before you could come up with a story?” asked Mr Atkinson, who questioned why Lewis’ defence statement had not been served to the court until last month.
He also asked why Lewis hadn’t originally let anyone know about the two people he claims he saw running away.
“There was no need to talk about it,” said Lewis.
“No need? Did it occur to you those two people might have been responsible for what happened to Sylvester? The police were investigating whether you were a killer and you didn’t tell them? The people at the scene thought you did it, Omarlie thought you did it, your family were telling you what was being said on social media about you being a killer, and you didn’t tell them you had seen two people running away? You didn’t want to help them find those responsible?”
Lewis: “I didn’t know they had done it.”
Jurors were shown images of a wound to Lewis’ hand, and he was asked how it happened.
“I was at work cutting a stencil and the stencil slipped,” said Lewis, who prints clothes to sell at a stall in Ridley Road Market.
“The police asked you about that and you could have given a totally innocent explanation about that but you said no comment,” said Mr Atkinson. “Because if you are wielding a knife – particularly a big knife – there’s always the risk of your hand moving onto the blade of the knife if you are using it.”
Mr Atkinson also pointed out inconsistencies between Lewis’ statement and what he said in court.
“You have told us any number of times today there was no blood on your hands, and yet the document written in your words says there was,” he said.
“You said today that getting blood on your hands, if someone had been killed, would stick in your mind. Is that because you are just not telling the truth?”
“I have no reason to lie about it,” said Lewis.
“You had every reason to lie about it. You had blood on your hands because you killed a man.”
Lewis, 28, of Cunningham Avenue, Enfield, denies murder.
The trial continues.