'Stabbed black teenager left to die by white gang'

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The Independent Online

A white gang chased down a black teenager and stabbed him, leaving him to lie "dying on a public bench", after they were rebuked for a racist remark, a court heard yesterday.

Christopher Alaneme, 18, suffered a single fatal wound which penetrated his liver after he was pursued through Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent on 21 April last year during a night out with friends.

The five men charged with the murder had travelled from their homes in south-east London on the day of the killing to stay at a caravan park on the island. Maidstone Crown Court heard the men had spent the evening drinking in pubs in Sheerness and some of them may have taken cocaine before they crossed paths with Mr Alaneme shortly after midnight.

Michael Austin Smith, QC, for the prosecution, told the court: "The trouble flared up when the defendants took exception to one of them being rebuked about a supposedly racist comment about Christopher Alaneme. The locals, including Mr Alaneme, ran for it, pursued by the defendants. The chase was short and sharp. At the end of it, Mr Alaneme lay dying on a public bench from a stab wound to his abdomen which penetrated his liver."

Mr Alaneme was one of two alleged victims of the gang that night. Mark Davies, 29, who was celebrating his birthday, suffered multiple stab wounds when he was allegedly set upon by three of the men.

The five defendants all deny Mr Alaneme's murder. They are Peter Connolly, 29, a painter and decorator, and Andrew Giblin, 26, a bank worker, both from Peckham; Terance Beaney, 23, a plasterer, from Woolwich; and brothers Sean Duhig, 23, and Gerry Duhig, 27, both plasterers, from Camberwell. Mr Connolly, Mr Giblin and Mr Beaney also deny wounding Mr Davies with intent.

The jury was told the defendants were staying in the caravan belonging to the Duhigs at Sheerness Holiday Park and, following a drink at the clubhouse, made their way into the town at around 9pm. Mr Austin Smith said: "No doubt they had a fair amount to drink. It may be that some of them at least took some cocaine at some point in the evening."

He said that the trouble flared and was over in no more than 50 seconds. He said that no witnesses saw a knife or a weapon and the CCTV cameras "all missed the vital action" because a St George's flag "was fluttering across the lens at the vital moment".

Mr Austin-Smith also told the court that Mr Alaneme and his friends had left a flat in Sheerness High Street shortly before midnight when they crossed paths with the defendants. It is alleged that Sean Duhig, who has a facial twitch, made a racist remark with which two of Mr Alaneme's friends expressed unhappiness. He said the catalyst for the violence that followed was Sean Duhig allegedly turning to his friends and saying: "Did you hear that, lads?"

Objects – allegedly including glasses and bottles – were then thrown by the defendants and Gerry Duhig allegedly attempted to punch and kick Mr Alaneme, who was described as 6ft 3in and well-built, before the two brothers gave chase. The three other defendants chased Mr Alaneme's friends but got sidetracked by an unfortunate bystander, Mr Davies, "who just happened to walk into their path".

Mr Austin-Smith said: "It's obvious that these defendants were disposed to use violence indiscriminately."

The case continues.