Tashaûn Aird murder trial: Defendant, 18, 'just wanted to make a move on a girl' in the park
PUBLISHED: 21:24 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:17 03 December 2019
One of the youths accused of murdering Tashaûn Aird has denied orchestrating the fatal attack, claiming he was only at the scene because he wanted to make a move on a girl.
Romaine Williams-Reid, 18, has been accused of "keeping watch" on 15-year-old Tashaûn and his friends, who were sitting in Somerford Grove, Stoke Newington, on May 1, and co-ordinating an ambush which led to him being stabbed nine times.
Two 15-year-olds are also on trial but cannot be named for legal reasons, while the fourth defendant, 16-year-old Caden Stuart, died in custody in June while awaiting trial.
Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Wlliams-Reid, of Erith Crescent, Collier Row in Romford, described how he had been in touch with Stuart before he got in an Uber taxi to come to meet him, allegedly with the two other boys on trial.
When they met up with Williams-Reid the other end the prosecution claims all four youths were "intent on violence".
But denying any intention to harm Tashaûn, Williams-Reid told jurors: "I didn't feel comfortable going to girls on my own. I just needed someone with me."
Williams-Reid said he hadn't expected the boys he identified as his two co-defendants to turn up, but added that he "thought they wanted to meet girls as well."
Jurors were played CCTV footage of the four youths approaching Somerford Grove. Williams-Reid said he heard someone shout out a greeting. Feeling "confused" because he "didn't think anyone would know us", he ran in the other direction to the others.
Asked why he ran, he replied: "I didn't want to be involved in anything that's not nice."
"What's 'not something nice'" asked the barrister representing him in court, Miss Campbell.
"Something that shouldn't have been happening," he replied.
"Why did you think they [the accused] were running," she asked.
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"Probably to get away like me," he said.
As Tashaûn's friend fled the park on his bike, Stuart stabbed him in the back, and seconds later Williams-Reid took his bike.
He said: "I grabbed the bike and I told him to get off the bike. He said 'I've been stabbed'. I said 'I don't care. Just give me the bike and run'.
"When I looked back when I was riding away, I saw his leg had blood on it," he added, saying he wanted to find "somewhere to go that was safe."
"Safe from what?" asked Miss Campbell.
"From anybody," he said. "Someone had just been stabbed and I was scared I could get stabbed myself."
He then went to ask his friend to get rid of his clothes.
"I'd just stolen someone's bike and I didn't want to get arrested for someone being stabbed when I didn't do it," he explained.
Later that evening he called Tashaûn's friend after she sent him a message saying: "CALL ME NOW".
"She kept saying You took my best friend from me. It should have been you'," he said, claiming he had no idea what she meant until she said 'Tashaûn is is dead'.
"It just went silent," he said. "You could just hear her crying and screaming at me. I was confused. She was saying I did something but I wasn't involved and the person on the bike wasn't Tashaûn."
All three defendants deny murder, wounding another boy with intent and possession of a knife.
The trial continues.