Nashon Esbrand murder trial: Jack Stevens accused of 'orchestrating' killing of young dad in Canonbury
PUBLISHED: 18:21 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 07:25 04 March 2019
A teenager who allegedly fled to Spain after the fatal stabbing of a young dad in Canonbury was today accused at the Old Bailey of "orchestrating" the killing.
The prosecution alleges Jack Stevens, then 18, played a leading role in the “coordinated” pursuit, entrapment and killing of Nashon Esbrand, 27, that started in Essex Road and ended with the victim being stabbed three times on a Mitchinson Road doorstep yards from his parents’ house in August 2017.
He died in hospital the following morning.
At an Old Bailey hearing in June, Dillon Zambon, 20 and Jhon Berhane, 18, both got life sentences for their role in Nashon’s murder, while an unnamed 16-year-old boy (Defendant 3), who was 15 at the time of the attack, was handed a minimum of 12 years for landing the fatal stab wound.
Stevens, who had an alleged “history” of “animosity” with the victim, was cycling with Zambon when he noticed Nashon walking down Essex Road, it is claimed. The prosecution says he called Berhane, who was with Defendant 3 and a fifth as yet unidentified accomplice, for “reinforcements”. They were all on bikes and started chasing Nashon, the Crown says, who had recently become a father.
In his opening, Hugh Davies, prosecuting, said: “Stevens, cycling with Zambon, effectively called [for] reinforcements.
“Having been summoned by Stevens, these three additional youths then joined in the pursuit.
“What was occurring was a coordinated team effort to corner Nashon such that he could be attacked, and that is exactly what occurred.
“With different escape routes blocked and obviously outnumbered and unarmed Nashon was eventually trapped on Mitchison Road.”
The court heard how Nashon ran up the steps of a Mitchinson Road house, as he knew the occupants, but that Defendant 3 followed and stabbed him with a “large knife”.
One neighbour described seeing “horror, terror and fear” on Nashon’s face as he was wounded.
“The effect of this attack was predictable and intended,” said Mr Davies. “Nashon suffered serious wounds to the back of his legs, one of these to his femoral artery, causing immediate and extensive blood loss. [...]
“The prosecution alleges that having been rallied as a team they acted as a team, and left as a team. It was, effectively, a convoy returning home.”
The prosecution believes Stevens, who has been captured on CCTV, won’t deny he was at the scene or that he called Berhane and the others.
But the Crown expects Stevens to argue he wasn’t party to the murder.
Mr Davies said: “The prosecution contends this is directly contradicted by the sequence of events; the reality of his involvement and association with the others; and his knowledge and association with knife crime.”
He later added: “The prosecution contends that if ever there were a joint enterprise it is this case; whilst the fatal blows were inflicted by [Defendant 3], he was only able to do so because of the co-ordinated activities of the others. [...]
“The attack would not have been possible if [Defendant 3] acted on his own.”
The court heard how some five months before Nashon was killed, on May 1, 2017, he was involved in an altercation with the Caledonian Road’s “Cally Boyz” gang.
Stevens and a number of other youths, not including any of those already convicted for Nashon’s murder, were on the other side of the dispute.
Knives were allegedly involved, and, based on this incident, Nashon was awaiting trial for affray when he died.
He told police and his GP he believed he was “targeted” by the Cally Boyz on this day because he had co-operated with the police.
Jurors heard how on July 3, 2017, Nashon called police claiming he had been chased by three youths who jumped out of car calling him “a grass”. He took refuge in a barber shop.
The prosecution argues Nashon’s death was the culmination of a “demonstrable pattern of hostility” shown by Stevens and his Cally Boyz associates towards the victim.
Stevens was arrested in Spain under a European Arrest Warrant in August.
The trial continues.