James Brindley: Stab victim was on phone to girlfriend during fatal attack
The girlfriend of a man who was fatally stabbed wept as she told a jury they had broken up that day but were reconciling on the phone at the moment he was attacked.
Lauren Wong had been dating fitness instructor James Brindley for a year at the time of his alleged murder as he walked home after meeting friends in Aldridge town centre, a court heard.
It is claimed Aaron Kahrod and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stabbed the 26-year-old to death after a chance encounter in The Croft park just before midnight on June 23 last year.
Despite living in Manchester, Miss Wong described their relationship as ‘very serious’, so had not believed him when he had ended it earlier that day following ‘a few silly arguments’.
The pair had recently been on holiday to Barcelona and had met each other’s families. “We were inseparable,” she told Birmingham Crown Court today.
Calling him later that night, she said the tone of their conversation had initially been tense.
His voice was raised but he was not shouting, she told the court. Then the conversation ‘flipped’ and they began sorting out their differences.
She said: “I remember feeling relieved because I didn’t want to break up with him.”
They had been talking for nearly 16 minutes when there was a pause and she heard the sound of wind.
Seconds later Mr Brindley told her he had been stabbed and was phoning an ambulance.
“He was talking normally, there was no shouting,” she said.
While allowing him time to dial 999, Miss Wong messaged him to say: ‘Tell me you’re okay. Do you want me to phone your parents?’
The jury was shown video footage of Mr Brindley collapsing on the pavement outside Glitters, a shop on High Street, after being stabbed.
They were also shown film of two people, alleged to be the defendants, fleeing the scene but later on in their journey walking calmly.
The court also heard from three of Mr Brindley’s friends, who gave evidence to say he had appeared relaxed and in good spirits when they had met up at The Avion pub in Aldridge.
He had drank only water and had left after half an hour to go home.
Earlier the jury was told the knife, which pierced Mr Brindley’s heart, had never been found.
Kahrod, of Walsall Road, Aldridge, denies ‘playing an unlawful part in the incident’, while the teenager claims he stabbed Mr Brindley in self-defence.
The jury was told the 17-year-old got rid of his black half-zipped jacket after it ripped during the alleged attack.
Police discovered the clothing dumped in a bin about 25 to 30 metres away with a damaged cuff and surgical face mask in one of the pockets.
The knife used to pierce Mr Brindley’s heart was allegedly ‘disposed’ of by the defendants and never recovered by police, prosecutor Mr Jonas Hankin QC said.
Mr Hankin said the pair fled and went into Aldridge Airport, adding: “The prosecution’s case is that the defendants went into these grounds to dispose of the weapon – the knife.”
They both deny murder and the trial continues
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