Men ‘hunted in pack’ to kill Thomas Cudjoe in Ley Street, Ilford murder, court hears

Thomas Cudjoe

Thomas Cudjoe - Credit: Archant

Five men accused of the murder of a 29-year-old were “hunting in a pack” as part of a revenge attack, a court has heard today.

Thomas Cudjoe of Richmond Road, Ilford, died of stab wounds to the legs and chest in front of the Shell petrol station in Ley Street, Ilford on November 3.

Reece Garwood, Jerome Green, Courtney Mitchell, Asher Johnson and Lewis Johnson were all at the Old Bailey today and deny Mr Cudjoe’s murder.

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee told the court: “It was relentless, merciless, with each playing a part. This was hunting in a pack, feeding off each other to ensure success.”

In a post-mortem, Mr Cudjoe was found to have 14 stab and slash wounds as well as head and shoulder injuries.

One of the stab wounds punctured his lung while another in his leg severed an artery causing him massive blood loss.

The jury watched CCTV of the five defendants leave the The Bell pub, next to the garage, at about 3.15am.

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Mr Cudjoe pulled up on to the forecourt of the petrol station in a blue Ford Focus and had two female friends and another man in the car with him.

It is then that the five defendants are said to have repeatedly assaulted the trapped Mr Cudjoe in the car before Jerome Green is accused of stabbing him.

Mr Jafferjee said: “This was a group of violent men who took the opportunity to extract revenge on the man who they believed was responsible for an earlier shooting for which he was cleared of by two courts.”

“It was a joint venture, in less elegant language, they are all in it together.”

Mr Cudjoe could be seen on the footage staggering away a few metres before collapsing on the floor.

The emergency services were called at 3.16am with police and the air ambulance all attending the scene.

Mr Jafferjee said: “He was bleeding very heavily. They performed emergency surgery on him on the road on which he lay to stop the blood loss but life was pronounced extinguished.”

Reece Garwood, 21, of Overton Drive, Chadwell Heath; Jerome Green, 23, of Ashgrove Road, Seven Kings and Courtney Mitchell, 23, of Clandon Road, Seven Kings deny the charge.

Alongside them were Asher Johnson, 25, and his brother Lewis Johnson, 22, both of Belamy Close, Isle of Dogs who also deny murder.