December 20 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, January 24, 2013
A teenage girl who alleged a man had raped her, before withdrawing the claim, has described the “awful” savage group beating that led to his death near a Woodford Green playing field.
The woman said she recognised Luke Harwood, 18, when she saw him moving into a house.
The Old Bailey heard that Emma Hall, 21, James Danby, 27, Tony O’Toole, 29, and Jovan Roberts, 28, punched, kicked and stamped on Mr Harwood’s head during the attack in Romford on May 27.
Following the assault, in which his facial skeleton was crushed, the victim was allegedly taken to a stream and his body was discovered in Broadmead Road.
“I recognised him because he tried to have sex with me two years ago when I didn’t want to,” she said in a statement. The girl, who is not on trial, confirmed that Hall had said that she was going to “kill him” after being told of the rape claim.
She accused Mr Harwood of rape in May 2010, but gave police a statement in which she “made it clear she had not in fact been raped”.
When asked by James Danby’s barrister if his client was “controlling” the attack that then ensued, she replied: “Kind of.”
She said at one point Danby dragged the battered frame of Mr Harwood in front of her, and demanded: “Are you sure this is him?”
“I said I was definite it was him,” she told the court. “Jay [Danby] was holding him. His nose was bent and there was blood everywhere.”
Sobbing as she recounted him being hit repeatedly in a shower room, she whispered, “It was awful.”
Hall, Danby, O’Toole and Roberts deny murder and wounding with intent.
The trial continues.
Residents of the street where a man was fatally stabbed last night have all said they were shocked that such a thing could happen where they live.