Man on trial for murder claimed ‘I run Ilford’ Old Bailey jury told
PUBLISHED: 16:54 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:57 17 July 2019
A man who “glorified violence” and had a “fondness for stabbing people in the chest” knifed to death 20-year-old Che Morrison outside Ilford Station, a court has heard.
Florent Okende, 20, of Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill, is on trial for murder. The Old Bailey was told he proclaimed "I run Ilford" before stabbing Che in the upper body on February 26 of this year.
The fatal wound was 17cms deep and the knife went through the gap between Che's fourth and fifth ribs.
Speaking behind a curtain to keep his anonymity intact, a witness told the court that on the night of the incident he arrived in the town centre at 8pm and when he saw Che he "spud him" hello.
"He was in a very good mood, he was very happy," the witness said.
"I spoke to him about his plans and he said he was waiting for a friend."
While speaking, "a group of four or five hooded men", including the defendant approached the pair.
The witness said he "knew of Flo" and he also spudded him hello.
"(Florent) asked what weed we had and Che said it was ami (a strain of cannabis)," he said.
"Che handed it to Flo and Flo handed it to a person on his right and told him to roll it in a joint.
"Che asked him for the bag back and Flo refused.
"After he refused he said 'I run Ilford'."
The Old Bailey heard today, Monday, July 15, that Che again asked for the cannabis back again.
The witness then heard a "flick of the knife"p.
"As soon as I heard it, it was too late," he added. "It all happened in a split second. It was so quick, he was already going towards him.
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"I tried to get involved.I was trying to push Che out of the way."
The witness said the Mr Okende left in the opposite direction.
"Che looked like he was all right - the way he stood. I tried to get help from the chicken shop.
"When I came back to get tissues, Che had collapsed."
The prosecutor said that Mr Okende was arrested on suspicion of murder on March, 1 after police tracked him on CCTV.
"When the defendant's home address was searched, as well as a quantity of cannabis the police recovered a number of handwritten notes," he told the courtroom.
"The notes glorify violence, inflate the defendant's status within Ilford, speak of his delight in stabbing people, focus on his fondness for stabbing people in the chest and express his hopes to kill someone by stabbing them."
Some of the written material collected included lines such as "I love sticking my blade in lungs" and "everyone knows flows be a top striker, aim for the chest and neck nuttin below" and "Ilford O we run da borough like everyone know".
The prosecutor added that at the time he stabbed Che, Mr Okende was wanted by the police for being in possession of a machete and had a previous conviction for making a threat with a bladed article in a public place.
He said Florent was only pleading self defence "because he has no other defence he can run".
He added: "If he admitted the truth, that he is a man with a fondness for knives and an obsession about his status, who stabbed a man for those reasons, then he would be admitting he is guilty of murder."
The defence said there is no dispute that the "knife which killed the deceased was carried by the defendant".
And added: "The issue, in this case, is was it possible that the defendant actually believed he was about to be attacked and stabbed him in a pre-emptive strike?
"If that is the case he can be found not guilty."
Florent Okende denies murder.
The trial continues.
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