Murder trial jury shown footage of knife victim’s final moments

Victim: Mubarak Ali
Victim: Mubarak Ali
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DRAMATIC CCTV pictures were played during the opening of a murder trial yesterday showing jurors the last moments of a criminology graduate who was fatally stabbed in a street disturbance.

Mubarak Ali died in an altercation outside a barber’s shop and, according prosecution lawyers, the video shows murder accused James Knowles thrust his right arm towards Mr Ali’s chest.

The short CCTV sequence, filmed from a private camera, was shown to Sheffield Crown Court at the trial of Knowles, 22, who denies killing Mr Ali, 24.

Jurors were told Knowles was left bleeding in a barber’s chair by a group of men who punched and kicked him as he was having his hair cut.

He allegedly went outside and confronted Mr Ali, fatally stabbing him through the heart.

Knowles was sitting having his hair cut when five Somali men stormed into the barber’s and attacked him with a pointed metal instrument and a piece of wood.

Bleeding from his head, Knowles tried to run out of the back door but the escape route was blocked and he shouted: “What have I done?” to which one of his assailants replied: “You know what it is.”

As the altercation moved outside of the shop, Knowles and Mr Ali, who was one of the attackers, were seen “posturing” before Knowles allegedly grabbed a knife and twice stabbed Mr Ali. One blow pierced his heart and other blow was so strong the handle broke off the knife, which broke a rib and left the tip of the blade embedded in Mr Ali’s rib bone.

Knowles denies murdering Mr Ali in a street near Swarv barbers in Highfields, Sheffield, at lunchtime of September 30 last year.

Paul Watson QC, prosecuting, said the Somalis attacked Knowles while he was in the barber’s chair. When the shop owner intervened, the group ran outside.

Knowles and Mr Ali clashed again in a nearby street where the victim was stabbed twice. He died shortly afterwards in hospital.

Mr Watson said: “Irrespective of what happened in the barber’s shop and whatever the reason for that attack the stabbing of Mr Ali by this defendant was both deliberate and aggressive. It was, we say, a truly murderous attack.”

Several customers in the barber’s witnessed the incident.

Knowles was arrested in Birmingham a week later. He first told police that Mr Ali had attacked him and he was only acting in self-defence.

He later told an officer: “They came for me, it was self defence. It was not my fault, trust me. I’m going down for 15 years. If five people come at you what do you do? I didn’t mean to kill anyone.”

He said Mr Ali had threatened to kill him and he turned round in the street to find him with a knife. He grabbed the knife from him and “lashed out”.

In another police interview he said he “feared for his life” in the barber’s shop and “knew these people had guns”. He saw something “shiny and pointed” in Mr Ali’s hand. Knowles managed to get the weapon off Mr Ali and used it to ward off his attacker.

But Mr Watson said while that might seem plausible it was not true.

“The evidence shows conclusively that it was Knowles who was the aggressor,” he said.

After the jury watched the CCTV footage, Mr Watson said it painted rather a different picture than Knowles had done.

“The CCTV shows beyond doubt that Knowles was not acting defensively,” he said.

The hearing continues.