Four males burst into the house on Salisbury Grove, Armley, in the early hours of March 19 in revenge for an earlier incident, before wrongly singling out Trust Junior Gangata in the kitchen and stabbing him 15 times before fleeing.
The 17-year-old – known to friends as “TJ” – was stabbed through the lung, his heart and his liver and died less than an hour later, Leeds Crown Court was told today.
Karl Belinga, 19, of no fixed address, Paul Mbwasse, age 19, of no fixed address, Brandon Paradzai, age 20, of Coleshill Way, Bradford, and Karlson Ogie, age 19, of Bierley House Avenue, Bradford, all deny Mr Gangata’s murder.
The case was opened by prosecutor Craig Hassall KC this afternoon, who said that Mr Gangata’s death was “all the more senseless” because it was a simple case of “mistaken identity”.
He said the birthday party had been held at a hired Airbnb house, which was attended by Belinga earlier on in the evening. But he had been attacked by a man with whom he had been feuding with since the previous summer.
Mr Gangata was even a “good friend” of Belinga, whom he had known for around three years and had even helped him in the earlier altercation at the party.
Belinga, who suffered facial injuries, fled the party but contacted his three co-defendants, before they all returned in a Toyota Yaris with the intention of avenging the earlier attack, Mr Hassall said.
The four men entered the house at the rear at around 2.45am. Three of them were wearing balaclavas, and one used his T-shirt to cover his face. At least two had knives, it was reported, including a large machete.
Screams could be heard and people fled the party as they attacked Mr Gangata. Mr Hassall said the male they had been looking for was known as “TM”, but wrongly attacked “TJ” instead.
Paramedics arrived to find Mr Gangata in cardiac arrest. They rushed him to Leeds General Infirmary but could not be resuscitated. He was declared dead at 3.31am.
Three of the defendants separately handed themselves into the police in the hours that followed, with the fourth arrested at his home address the day after.
Mr Hassall said of the four defendants: “They clearly joined together and attended that party to avenge the earlier assault. They either went there to participate, or to encourage or assist in that attack.
"Each was clearly aware that a bladed weapon or weapons were to be used. The intention was to cause at least really serious harm. Their knowledge means each of them are guilty of the offence of murder.”
Mr Gangata had been studying at Notre Dame Sixth Form College in Leeds, which paid tribute to him the days after his tragic death, saying he was a “friendly, sociable, and kind student who always contributed positively in class”.
The trial continues.