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Four alleged killers carried out ‘extraordinarily callous’ murder of teenager found in Woodford Green, court hears

15:03 09 January 2013

Luke Harwood

Luke Harwood's skull was crushed in the attack, the court heard

Archant

Four alleged killers carried out the “extraordinarily callous, violent and brutal” murder of a teenager stamped to death near a Woodford Green playing field after he was accused of rape, a court heard on Tuesday.

Luke Harwood, 18, was punched and kicked to death by the gang, from Romford, after a woman they knew claimed he had raped her, the jury heard.

His body was left in Broadmead Road, near the Orchard Estate, on May 28.

The gang planned to slice off his fingers and pull out his teeth so the body could not be identified, the Old Bailey was told.

The victim, who had an eight-month-old-son, moved into a council house where the gang all lived, the jury heard.

Even though the case had been dropped, a woman claimed again to the group that she had been attacked by Mr Harwood, the court was told.

Emma Hall, 21, and three friends James Danby, 27, Tony O’Toole, 29 and Jovan Roberts, 28, killed Mr Harwood, who was 5ft 7ins and weighed just seven stone, by “punching and kicking and stamping on his head many times,” said prosecutor Simon Denison.

They all deny murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The attack began in Romford and the victim was then driven to Woodford Green where he was finished off on the bank of a stream, it was said.

Danby was said to have stamped on his head 20 times at the scene.

The following evening the alleged killers returned with knives and wire cutters to mutilate his body to make it more difficult for him to be identified, said Mr Denison.

But Emma Hall had told the police of the plan and officers were waiting for the gang, it was said.

Mr Denison added: “His murder was quite extraordinarily callous and violent and brutal.”

Hall, Danby and O’Toole, and Billy Duggan, 21, of Romford, and Khalid Hassan, 20, of no fixed address, deny perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

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