‘Man stabbed to death by ‘enemy’ outside Leeds city centre bar’

A man was fatally stabbed in the chest during a confrontation with his “hated” enemy in the road outside a Leeds city centre bar, a jury heard.

Marlon Small.

A court heard Marlon Small bled to death after the knife blow by Damien Dhers penetrated his heart during the incident on Merrion Street.

The prosecution allege Dhers had waited until Mr Small left Lounge Bar and Grill before launching the attack.

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Dhers is alleged to have reached out of the driver’s window of his VW Golf before stabbing Mr Small once with the weapon and driving away.

The jury at Leeds Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of the brief incident which took place shortly after 1.20am on November 1 last year.

Seconds later Mr Small can be seen returning from the middle of the road and collapsing on the pavement in front of the bar as others rush to help him.

Mr Small, 31, from Chapeltown, Leeds, died shortly after being taken to hospital.

The court heard the two men had a long standing “irrational” hatred towards each other.

When interviewed about the incident, Dhers told police their rivalry had started over a broken bicycle and he referred to Mr Small as a “grass”.

Richard Wright, QC, prosecuting, said: “The men were no strangers to each other. By the same token they were not friends.

“It seems that for no good reason at all there was a mutual animosity, perhaps even bordering on hatred, between them.”

Mr Wright told the jury that there had been previous confrontations between the men. The prosecutor said Dhers had thrown a punch at Mr Small during an incident said to have happened in the Warehouse nightclub in Leeds in 2013.

Describing the night of the fatal attack, Mr Wright said: “Damien Dhers did not drive his car away from any confrontation. Rather, he waited for Marlon Small to get close up to the open driver’s window then plunged a knife into his chest with force.”

The jury heard Dhers, of Hessle Road, Hyde Park, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice but he denies murder.

Mr Wright said Dhers accepts he acted unlawfully in using the weapon against Mr Small but does not accept that he intended to kill of cause serious injury.

Dhers is alleged to have then fled the city with the help of others in a bid to “buy himself time” so he could construct lies about the incident before handing himself in to police.

Carmello Marzullo, 29, of Cockshott Lane, Armley, is also on trial accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He denies the charge. It is alleged he drove Dhers to Middlesbrough after the area in a bid to avoid arrest.

The jury was told Mr Small has served a long prison term in the past for a firearms offence and had been acquitted in a murder trial.

Dhers has also served a lengthy prison sentence for drug dealing.