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Jury in Bailey Atkinson murder trial sent home early after accused too ill to attend court

Jurors in a trial of nine teenagers accused of murder were sent home early after one of the defendants did not turn up at court due to being unwell.

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Bailey Atkinson was stabbed to death in Walsall

Benjamin Wilkes is among nine people accused of stabbing to death Bailey Atkinson, of Bloxwich, in Walsall's High Street in the early hours of January 28 last year.

The case is being heard at Nottingham Crown Court where judge Mr Justice Goss was told that Wilkes, aged 18 and also of Bloxwich, was feeling unwell on Friday and had not been brought on the prison van.

The hearing went ahead in his absence with prosecution witness West Midlands Police intelligence analyst Matthew Smith continuing to give evidence relating to photographs of the defendants allegedly meeting on the Darlaston Asda car park off St Lawrence Way shortly before they made the three-mile journey to the scene of the attack.

However, the proceedings were cut short as no cross-examination could take place in Wilkes' absence.

Mr Justice Goss said: "We're deferring cross-examination of this witness until he [Wilkes] can be present." He added that no more evidence in the case will be heard until next Wednesday.

The jury previously heard that the group travelled in convoy in two stolen cars which were used to chase Mr Atkinson, aged 20, who had links to Coventry. He was pursued up the old Walsall market hill before the occupants of the cars got out and chased him down on foot before beating and slashing him with blades near Old Square.

Wilkes, of Guild Avenue; Ronan McCulloch, 19, of Livingstone Road; Sonny Loveridge, 19, of Irvine Road; all Bloxwich; Nvaah Whitter, 18, of Innovation Way, Beechdale; Patrick Brookes, 18, of Hunter Crescent, Harden; two 16-year-olds; a 17-year-old, all from Walsall, and another 17-year-old, from Marston Green, Birmingham, who cannot be named, all deny murder.

The trial continues.

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