Whitehawk murder was ‘drugs robbery gone wrong’

Posted On 17 Nov 2020 at 1:30 pm

The police cordon in Whitehawk Road in April

The murder of a young father in broad daylight in Whitehawk was a drugs robbery gone wrong, a jury heard this morning.

Muhammed Jassey was stabbed on the Whitehawk Road on April 5 this year.

Bobby Smith, 22, and Daryl Richardson, 26, were arrested the same day and charged with his murder. Both deny the charge and have been standing trial at Brighton Crown Court.

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This morning, in closing Richardson’s defence, Martin Rutherford QC referred to texts sent by Richardson in which he described a plan to steal drugs.

He said: “Richardson is one of many sad, pathetic users of drugs. You know that.

“You also know that he planned to steal drugs from a drug dealer as set out in those texts.

“Those texts speak for themselves.

“Richardson’s plan was to snatch and grab some cannabis through a window in a Volkswagen Tiguan at high speed, all of that committed under the cover of darkness so the wouldn’t get caught.

“In a few hours, at 2,18pm that afternoon when Richardson headed back to [their flat in Kite Close] with a bag of food you may have concluded his intention at that moment was to cook a meal with his friends.

“Several minutes later, Muhammmed Jassey was dying.

“The shortness of time all on its own demonstrates to you a complete absence of planning in terms of what was supposed to happen that afternoon between those three men.

“Add to that the fact the attack took place in broad daylight in a busy Brighton street, in full glare of the CCTV cameras and it tells you all you need to know about planning in this case.”

The attack was caught on CCTV, which was again played several times for the jury this morning.

In it, Mr Rutherford said, you can see Richardson and a shorter man, who the Crown says is Smith, approach Mr Jassey.

There is “an explosion of violence” when the shorter man comes right up to Mr Jassey, stabs him, and Richardson and the shorter man run off.

Before the stabbing, Richardson is seen to touch Mr Jassey, which his defence says is him patting him down for drugs, but no other contact between those two is made.

He’s also seen picking something up from the ground.

Mr Rutherford told the jury if they looked closely, they would see a flash on the camera as the shorter man flees, which he said is him putting the knife into the back waistband of his jogging bottoms.

Detectives found Mr Jassey’s blood on clothes which also had both the defendants’ DNA on.

Mr Jassey’s phone was also found in the same flat Richardson and Smith were arrested in, and Richardson’s girlfriend told two people they had stabbed someone, according to the prosecution.

Richardson failed to give evidence at the trial. In his police interview, he admitted having been present when the attack happened, but said Mr Jassey was stabbed by a third person he doesn’t want to name.

Smith took the stand and flatly denied he had been anywhere near the attack.

Summing up the prosecution case, Philip Bennetts said: “You don’t know why he was killed. Anybody who listened to the evidence during the course of this trial wouldn’t know why he was killed.

“Daryl Richardson has not gone into the witness box. He could have told you why he and that other man he was with ran out into the Whitehawk Road.

“He could have told you why he appeared to signal towards that man.

“He could have told you why he and the second man targeted Muhammed Jassey and why, in the early afternoon of April 5, in broad daylight, Muhammed Jassey was stabbed to death.

“He didn’t. Why not?

“Bobby Smith gave evidence. Taking into account his lack of education and the fact he may be slow, you saw a denial of all the evidence that supports the fact that he was the other man.”

The prosecution case is that Richardson spotted Mr Jassey while he was shopping at Lidl, and left his groceries behind as he rushed out to speak to him.

The pair talked, but no attack took place then. Richardson and Smith then went back to their flat in Kite Close – the crown says, to fetch a knife.

They then left the flats, and within moments saw Mr Jassey. Richardson beckoned to Smith, and the pair approached him. Richardson held Mr Jassey while Smith stabbed him, the prosecution says.

They then fled back to their flat, where they shed their clothing and went to a different flat belonging to a friend, Shana Cager, where they watched paramedics trying to resuscitate Mr Jassey.

There, Richardson’s girlfriend Lauren Champion told two people Smith and Richardson had stabbed someone. Word got around the flats, and police arrested them.

This afternoon, Smith’s counsel Anthony Metzer QC is expected to give the closing speech for his defence.

Judge Jeremy Gold will then sum up the evidence and the jury is expected to retire tomorrow to consider its verdict.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    The simple fact is: a man now dead could have been alive. Everything else is obfuscation.

  2. Daniel Harris Reply

    Is this written from fact or a press release. Inconsistencies here . I am interested in preventing future cases, What happened and why is up for dispute. Two people were clearly seen doing this, its clear who is blaming who for the stabbing. But both must be held accountable.

    The drugs link is a shame and I am shocked at the Judges response and dismissal, lets look at historic criminal records and a study Of how it come to this.

    I can see that poverty and repression led to these outcomes and possibly racist motives, would a white bloke from the area have gotten that.

    The victim had a partner, she was pregnant and now alone with two children, one is his. I think any sentence needs to take into account those victims and the families also act as a deterrent.

    In terms of drugs as its raised, how can we keep holding those accountable when the support for recovery and the issues which lead to addiction arent being solved.

    Could this have been prevented, I think yes if we didnt have the hostile society which many struggle to engage with.

    This is a tragedy. This was my preventable and we need to learn the lessons

    • Jo Wadsworth Reply

      Hi Dan, it’s written from my notes from court yesterday morning. Any inconsistencies will come from the fact there’s the case for both the prosecution and the defence included in the report. It’s now going to be up to a jury to decide what happened.

      I’m confused about your comments about the judge’s response, as he’s not quoted in the piece?

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