‘Fist fight’ led to fatal stabbing of teenager, court hears

·4-min read

A dispute between two groups of teenagers thought to be settled with fists ended with a 16-year-old dead after he was attacked with weapons, a court heard.

Ramarni Crosby was stabbed to death after being confronted by eight youths armed with a machete, meat cleaver and knives in Gloucester.

CCTV footage taken from properties in the Barton area of the city shows Ramarni and his four friends running away but teenager slowing and collapsing in Stratton Road where he died a short time later.

Ramarni Crosby 16, was allegedly murder by a group of eight youths during a confrontation (Gloucestershire Police/PA)
Ramarni Crosby 16, was allegedly murdered by a group of eight youths during a confrontation (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

Dean Smith, 19, two 17-year-olds, three 16-year-olds and two 15-year-olds are accused of the teenager’s murder on December 15 last year.

Bristol Crown Court heard the build-up and aftermath of the alleged attack was captured on CCTV cameras from nearby houses but not the stabbing itself.

Adam Vaitilingam QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “The background to the stabbing was a rivalry between two groups of young men in Gloucester.

“In particular, about a week earlier there had been a fight between a 16-year-old defendant and one of Ramarni Crosby’s friends.

“On the day of the killing itself, those two messaged each other again and arranged to meet up for a fight.

“Ramarni’s friend says the fight would be between the five in his group, which included Ramarni, and five from the 16-year-old defendant’s group.”

Mr Vaitilingam told the jury a second friend of Ramarni had also arranged to meet up for a fight.

“He also says that he arranged to meet up for a fist fight to sort out an ongoing dispute,” he said.

“As the other group approached they could see they was eight of them.

“Ramarni’s friend could see they were carrying a bunch of knives and weapons. He and the friends group ran off, but Ramarni stayed and swung punches at the other group. He didn’t see Ramarni get stabbed.

“He saw a lot of weapons and they were all on Ramarni.”

The court heard witnesses saw the defendants wearing purple bandanas pulled up over their faces.

Referring to the CCTV, Mr Vaitilingam said: “What we do see is Ramarni’s group running away and being chased by the defendants.

“Ramarni Crosby is the last to run away and he collapses on the street, and despite the best efforts of the emergency services, his injuries were fatal.”

Mr Vaitilingam said none of the eight defendants were arrested at the scene – allowing them to dispose of mobile phones and weapons, including two knives, a machete and a meat cleaver.

“A machete was found in a canal by police divers, which is clearly linked to these defendants,” the prosecutor said.

The teenager suffered six wounds to his body, including a fatal stabbing to his chest, as well as stab injuries to his upper back, upper left arm, lower arm and top of his head.

The jury was told telephone and social media conversations between some of the defendants have been recovered, which included references to buying a ‘chef’ – a knife – in the days before the incident.

One of the defendants also boasted of attacking the friend of Ramarni, claiming they “smoked him up with wood”, Mr Vaitilingam said.

And another defendant made a reference to stabbing someone, saying: “I have been thinking about boring this man all night.”

They also told another co-accused: “If we see them, it’s a massacre.”

Mr Vaitilingam told the court that one of the defendants and the friend of Ramarni Crosby continued to message each other until shortly before the fatal confrontation.

The friend told the defendant: “Why do you think I care?”

And he replied: “You should watch your mum, if you touch a yard.”

Smith, of Lannett Road, Gloucester and his seven co-accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny murder.

A ninth defendant, Keishaleigh Margrett-Whitter, of Lyncroft Road, Tyseley, Birmingham, denies two charges of assisting an offender.

It is alleged she provided one of the defendants with a change of clothing and swapped a mobile phone sim card.

It is also said she swapped a second sim card with another defendant.

The trial continues.

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