Nashon Esbrand murder trial: New dad ‘cornered and killed with machete-style blade’ yards from parents’ Canonbury home

PUBLISHED: 13:08 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 07:56 13 March 2018

Nashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Mitchison Road, Canonbury, in August.

Nashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Mitchison Road, Canonbury, in August.

Family of Nashon Esbrand

Nashon Esbrand was hunted, cornered and stabbed to death with a machete-style blade yards from his parents’ house in Canonbury, a court heard this morning.

Police at the scene in Mitchison Road, Canonbury. Picture: James MorrisPolice at the scene in Mitchison Road, Canonbury. Picture: James Morris

And it can today be reported that a 16-year-old youth has already admitted Nashon’s murder. The boy, “Defendant 3”, was 15 at the time and inflicted three wounds to the back of Nashon’s legs.

One of these was 17.5cm in depth, causing fatal blood loss. Nashon died in hospital early the next morning.

The Old Bailey heard he was one of five youths who were “brutally effective” in trapping Nashon in Mitchison Road on August 24. The court was told they had been targeting him because he had spoken to police about a previous incident.

Two other young men – Dillon Zambon, 20, and Jhon Berhane, 18 – are accused of being part of the killing. They both deny murder and their trial started today.

Opening the case, prosecutor Hugh Davies said: “He knew his attackers. He was expecting another attack. He was expecting them to use lethal violence. His expectations were met.”

Nashon Esbrand, 27, was killed in Mitchison Road, Canonbury.Nashon Esbrand, 27, was killed in Mitchison Road, Canonbury.

Nashon, 27, was described by neighbours of his parents in Mitchison Road as a “friendly figure”. The former Central Foundation Boys’ School pupil lived in Upper Holloway. He had recently become a dad for the first time.

On the evening of August 24, the court heard, Nashon and his partner were walking south down Essex Road, taking it in turns to push the pram.

They parted company at the junction with New North Road just after 6.45pm, Mr Davies told the court, and Nashon headed back north up Essex Road towards his parents’ house.

Mr Davies continued: “Nashon was seen by an 18-year-old youth called Jack Stevens – alleged by the prosecution to be part of this crime, but who is in hiding – and the first defendant Dillon Zambon, who were cycling at the junction of Ecclesbourne Road and Rotherfield Street.

“Some of these parties had history. There was animosity. Having spotted Nashon, Stevens and Zambon acted with deliberation and speed.

Police taped off Mitchison Road, off Essex Road, in Canonbury following the stabbing. Picture: James MorrisPolice taped off Mitchison Road, off Essex Road, in Canonbury following the stabbing. Picture: James Morris

“Nashon was pursued along Essex Road, into side streets, ultimately to Mitchison Road. As they followed Nashon, Stevens made mobile telephone calls to Jhon Berhane, then aged 17, who was out cycling with Defendant 3, then aged 15. A fifth, and as yet unidentified, youth was with them. Stevens had effectively sent for reinforcements in order to co-ordinate a violent attack.

“These three youths immediately joined the pursuit. What was occurring as they joined the others was a co-ordinated team effort to corner Nashon. That is exactly what occurred. With different escape routes blocked, and outnumbered and unarmed, Nashon was eventually trapped on Mitchison Road and chased up the steps of a property. He knew the occupants as neighbours of his parents.

“As he made for the door, he was attacked from behind by Defendant 3, who was using a large knife. One of the occupants describes ‘horror, terror and fear’ on Nashon’s face.

“Nashon was stabbed. It was as short and sharp as it was brutally effective.”

Neighbours, members of the public and Nashon’s dad – who he had called for as he tried to escape his attackers – attempted to rescue him. He died in hospital at 2.30am the next day, Mr Davies said. A member of Nashon’s family left the court in tears at this point.

Nashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Canonbury in August. Picture: family of Nashon EsbrandNashon Esbrand was stabbed to death in Canonbury in August. Picture: family of Nashon Esbrand

After the attack, Mr Davies said the five youths cycled through Islington’s back streets to two of their home addresses. “The prosecution says 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 prosecutor then discussed the alleged background of the attack: “On March 1, just over five months before his murder, Nashon Esbrand was involved in a violent incident. That incident occurred in public and involved members of a group of youths in Islington, a gang, called the Cally Boyz.

“Nashon Esbrand was on one side, and Jack Stevens with a number of other youths, not any of the others in this case, on the other. Knives were involved.”

Nashon was arrested after the incident, and was in possession of a knife. He was awaiting trial for affray at the time of his death, the court heard.

Mr Davies continued: “He believed the boys who targeted him on March 1, having also previously threatened him, were members of the Cally Boyz gang, and they were targeting him because he had previously gone to the police regarding a much older incident.”

Police taped off Mitchison Road, off Essex Road, in Canonbury following the stabbing. Picture: James MorrisPolice taped off Mitchison Road, off Essex Road, in Canonbury following the stabbing. Picture: James Morris

The court heard Nashon told officers in an interview: “Because I’ve spoken with the police I’ve been targeted more by boys, ’cause they’re actually saying: ‘Because you’ve spoken with the police, we’re going to get you and target you.’ So I just feel that because I’ve actually spoken with the police regarding it, it’s just made it worse for me and just made my life in danger.”

On July 3, Nashon called police about another incident two days earlier. The interview transcript read: “Three youths have jumped out the car and ran towards me, started chatting ‘you’re a grass’ because I’ve spoke with police about one of these occasions before.

“One of them grabbed me, started attacking me. Luckily, there was people in the barber shop that’s come out to try to stop it.”

Mr Davies said: “In other words, the events of August 24 are demonstrably part of a pattern of hostility shown to him by Jack Stevens and/or members of the Cally Boyz gang and/or associates of Stevens.

“They regarded him as deserving attack because he had spoken to the police.”

Nashon Esbrand: Picture: Ange DouaNashon Esbrand: Picture: Ange Doua

Mr Davies also described eyewitness evidence: “One man saw a black man outside the pub with a panicked look on his face – this must have been Mr Esbrand – who ‘looked like he was running for his life’. He was followed ‘straight away’ by five youths. Some were on bikes and some were on foot. They were ‘flying past and hot on his heels’.

“He went outside, shouting ‘oi’ and ‘stop’. He saw them block the path of the man running away from them, and then saw one of the youths pull up the bottom of his coat and pull out a long knife from his waistband. This youth made slashing motions towards the victim, while another of the youths ‘grappled’ with him.

“They were saying to the victim: ‘What you saying now, bruv? Where you going now?’ These comments – in reality, taunts – were consistent with them believing Nashon had talked about them, or people they associated with, to the police.

“He remonstrated with members of the group as they cycled off. Smiling, they told him to f*** off.”

Though Defendant 3 carried out the stabbing, Mr Davies said of Zambon, Berhane and the other suspects: “The prosecution contends that if ever there is a joint enterprise, it is this case.

“While the fatal blows were inflicted by Defendant 3, he was only able to do so because of the co-ordinated activities of the others. They had acted together to prevent Nashon’s escape, and the attack would not have been possible if Defendant 3 was on his own.”

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.

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