Death of Thomas Cudjoe in Ley Street, Ilford was either revenge or a drugs deal gone wrong, court hears

PUBLISHED: 17:51 18 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:01 18 July 2013

A judge told the jury in a murder trial that they had to decide whether it was a drug deal gone wrong or a revenge killing following a shooting.

Judge Richard Mark was summing up the case over the death of Thomas Cudjoe, 29, who died on the forecourt of the Shell petrol station in Ley Street, Ilford.

Mr Cudjoe received 14 stab and slash wounds before keeling over on the pavement shortly after 3.15am on November 3.

Jerome Green, 23; Reice Garwood, 21; Courtney Mitchell, 23; Asher Johnson, 25 and his brother Lewis Johnson, 22 all deny murder and appeared today at the Old Bailey.

Judge Mark said: “The prosecution said this was a deliberate revenge attack for the shooting of their friend Reece Okosi, all be it Thomas Cudjoe was cleared by the courts of having any involvement in the attack.”

Reice Okosi was shot twice in August 2010 while in Dagenham leaving him paralysed.

On the night that Mr Cudjoe died he had earlier picked up two female and a male friend and was driving a blue Ford Focus and pulled into the petrol station next to The Bell pub.

“You have heard that he was unwilling to go into The Bell that night as it was too hot, or dangerous, for him,” Judge Mark continued.

“The prosecution said that he knew there may well be friends of Reice Okosi there who would be dangerous to him and so, the prosecution said, it proved to be.”

In CCTV footage played to the jury, Mr Cudjoe could be seen pulling into the petrol station before being approached by three men.

Judge Mark said: “The defence case is that events at the petrol station had nothing to do with the shooting of Reice Okosi rather that it all stems from a drugs deal that went exponentially wrong.”

Reece Garwood of Overton Drive, Chadwell Heath; Courtney Mitchell of Clandon Road, Seven Kings; Asher and Lewis Johnson, both of Bellamy Close, Isle of Dogs and Jerome Green, of Ashgrove Road, Seven Kings deny murder.

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