Tashaûn Aird murder trial: Stoke Newington teen said going to shop was ‘too dangerous’

Tashaûn Aird, 15, died after he was allegedly stabbed in Hackney on Monday, May 6. Picture: Met Poli

Tashaûn Aird, 15, died after he was allegedly stabbed in Hackney on Monday, May 6. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Tashaûn Aird told his mum it was “too dangerous” to go shopping near his home just one month before he was stabbed to death in a Stoke Newington park, the Old Bailey heard.

Photographs and flower tributes form a homemade shrine for Tashaun Aird on the Somerford Grove Estat

Photographs and flower tributes form a homemade shrine for Tashaun Aird on the Somerford Grove Estate. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

And hours before he was fatally attacked in Somerford Gardens the 15-year-old music producer, who was known as Dots or Dotz, was heard denying he was part of a gang on the phone to Romaine Williams-Reid, 18, one of four teenagers said to be responsible for his murder.

Two 15-year-olds are also on trial but cannot be named for legal reasons, while the fourth defendant, 16-year-old Cayden Stuart, died in custody in June while awaiting trial.

In the weeks and days leading up to May 1 when he was attacked, Tashaûn's mother had noticed he was "increasingly conscious about where he could go in the area and where he couldn't go", according to prosecutor Julian Evans.

"In April he had wanted to buy some new jeans but told his mum he couldn't walk to the shop he had in mind because it was too dangerous," he said.

"On another occasion he stayed out at night and didn't come home. She reported him missing and he came home the next morning. He told his mum he stayed out because he was frightened to walk home at night and it was safer for him to walk home in the morning."

He continued: "A gang may lay claim to a geographical area, estate or post code and some gangs may find themselves on good terms with other gangs but such alliances may be short lived and may in fact lead to conflict between groups and areas.

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"Membership is a loose and ill-defined concept and none have a formal list of members and whether someone is a member is difficult to establish. What can matter is if someone is believed to be part of a gang or sympathetic. Tashaûn was driven to say: 'I'm not Red Pitch. I'm not Amhurst'."

The court heard on the evening of May 1 Tashaûn, a pupil at the Inspire Directions School in Dalston Lane, which caters for children with complex educational needs, was sitting on a bench with his friends in the park next to the Somerford Grove Estate.

Williams-Reid had allegedly been "keeping watch" on them from Stoke Newington Road, while he "helped orchestrate and coordinate the attack".

At 8pm Wlliams-Reid, of Romford, is said to have phoned Cayden Stuart at the council youth club, Young Hackney, in Forest Road, Dalston, where he was a member.

Stuart and the other two boys on trial then allegedly got in an Uber "intent on violence" and met Williams-Reid close to the park.

As soon as Tashaûn's friends saw the group of four, they started to flee "as they quickly realised something wasn't right", but "perhaps because he was facing in the other direction", Tashaûn was slow to respond.

"In those moments one of those youths produced a knife or some other type of bladed weapon," said Mr Evans, describing how the group of four split up to pursue Tashaûn and his friend who was on a bicycle.

Jurors were told one of the 15-year-olds "repeatedly lunged" at Tashaûn, and his friend was stabbed in the back by Stuart before Reid-Williams took his bike and made off on it.

The friend sought refuge in a shop, and an ambulance crew that was already nearby dealing with another patient provided treatment.

"He has since made a full recovery, but sadly Tashaûn was not so fortunate," said Mr Evans.

He fled the park but the same 15-year-old caught up with him and began attacking him again.

"With an over arm motion that can be all too readily seen on the CCTV footage he raised his arm up, aimed it down and stabbed Tashaûn again," said Mr Evans.

"After the three youths left him he walked a short distance before he collapsed, and when police arrived he was lying face down and he was bleeding heavily from his injuries," he added.

Paramedics were unable to save him and he died at the scene 45 minutes after the attack.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had been stabbed nine times, with the fatal blow to his chest penetrating 11cm deep to pierce his lung.

"There can be no doubt he was chased and attacked by that group and during the course of that attack he was stabbed and died soon after," said Mr Evans.

"Who were the four youths that took part in this violence? It is the prosecution's case that those four youths were made up of the three defendants and Caydon Stuart.

"It's the prosecution's case that these four youths were intent on serious if not fatal violence. At least two of them were armed with knives or other bladed weapons, and they were acting as a group and intending to cause them at the very least very serious harm."

All three defendants deny murder.

The trial continues.