Wolverhampton teenager died from stab wound to chest during fight, jury told

A 15-year-old died as a result of a fatal stab wound to his lungs during a fight with an older youth, jurors have heard.

Zane Smart
Zane Smart

Zane Smart left the scene on his bicycle, but collapsed and died shortly after the confrontation with a 16-year-old on May 27 last year in the Pendeford area of Wolverhampton.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Home Office pathologist Brett Lockyer told the jury that the medical cause of death was a stab wound to the chest. He explained that the injury to Zane's right lung would have resulted in the schoolboy bleeding out, falling into shock, deep unconsciousness then cardiac arrest.

He said the wound which punctured the upper lobe of the right lung was less than an inch in length and would have resulted in air entering the chest cavity "stopping the lung from working".

"It would have resulted in diminished blood pressure, less cardiac output as a consequence of a loss of venous return to the heart," Dr Lockyer said.

Prosecuting barrister Mr Harpreet Sandhu KC put to him that Zane "ran then cycled some distance before collapsing" in the aftermath of the incident which happened in a secluded area near the Shropshire Union Canal at about 4.15pm.

Dr Lockyer replied: "The injuries would not have been instantaneously fatal."

He said toxicology tests had found no alcohol in Zane's system, but there were chemicals suggesting "recent use" of cannabis; and anabolic steroids used to enhance athletic performance and improve body mass.

The defendant, now aged 17, who suffered minor cuts inflicted by Zane, claimed he was acting in self-defence. He denies murder and possession of a knife in public without lawful excuse but accepts causing the wound which caused the death.

Trial judge Mrs Justice May told the jury that their role was to decide whether the defendant intended to cause serious bodily harm or not when he carried out the stabbing; how the confrontation came about and how the youths came to have knives on them.

The jury previously heard that there had been tension between the pair who had been involved in a dispute four months earlier and met up again after the defendant became “cross” that his victim was riding a bike in the area. He had also had also posted a message on social media alongside a picture of Zane, stating which postcode he was located in.

Each had armed themselves with weapons on the day of the latest clash.

Minutes later members of the public, went to the alleged victim's aid after he was seen falling off his bicycle, but despite theirs and the emergency services efforts to save him, Zane was pronounced dead at about 4.52pm.

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