Marcel Campbell murder trial: Reece Williams took knife from victim and stabbed him in self-defence, court hears

PUBLISHED: 17:41 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 18:09 22 November 2018

Marcel Campbell.

Marcel Campbell.


Reece Williams took Marcel Campbell’s knife from him and stabbed him to death in self-defence, a jury heard.

Floral tributes left at the scene of Marcel Campbell's stabbing in Upper Street. Picture: Polly HancockFloral tributes left at the scene of Marcel Campbell's stabbing in Upper Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Mr Campbell, a 30-year-old father of two, was stabbed 17 times outside Upper Street’s Udderlicious ice cream parlour on May 21 – and William, 22, of Northdown Street, is on trial at the Old Bailey charged with his murder.

The defendant claims he had earlier got into a van with Mr Campbell, which Gabriel Prempeh was driving, to buy £200 worth of drugs.

Williams told the court Mr Campbell then pulled a knife out in the van, with the intention of robbing him. He says he resisted and Mr Campbell then “lunged at him with force”.

Jonathan Reece QC, of the prosecution, said: “Why would he [Williams] get into the van with two older drug dealers when he was bound to put himself in a vulnerable position?

“I suggest because he was carrying a knife with him to use if things went wrong.”

But the defence insists it was Mr Campbell’s knife, citing his problem accessing benefits as possible motivation for robbing the younger man.

Mr Reece added: “But if this was an attempted robbery as the defendant claims, then surely the most sensible way to reduce the risk would be to hand over the money as soon as the threat has been made? [...]

“Despite claiming to be attacked with a knife, the only injury the defendant suffered was to his right hand.”

He told the jury “the knife may well have been wet with the deceased’s blood”, causing his grip to slip.

The defendant has said he was trying to punch and push the victim away and had not intended to seriously hurt him. He later claimed Mr Campbell left his “face swollen and lip bleeding”. But Mr Reece said: “There is no supporting evidence he had any significant facial injuries.”

He added: “I suggest there was a case that Marcel Campbell was fighting back but you may think that was hardly surprising – he was quite literally fighting for his life.”

It’s claimed the deadly melee started in the van before spilling out onto the floor and up against a shop front, where the victim was stabbed repeatedly. The whole incident took 34 seconds.

Williams claimed he only gained control of the knife once they had fallen from the van. Mr Reece said the defendant hadn’t mentioned this in his original police report because “he hadn’t at that point fabricated that part”.

But multiple witness attested to seeing a person inside the van with their backside and back pressed up against the passenger door, trying to fend off an arm making “stabbing motions”. They alleged the person brandishing the knife had lighter skin than the person resisting it. Williams has lighter skin than Mr Campbell.

Mr Reece said that evidence was significant as it contradicted the defendant’s claim he didn’t have the knife inside the vehicle.

The prosecutor claims Williams was involved in a “murderous attack” against Mr Campbell, citing the pathologist’s report suggesting someone must have “thrust with force” to make the deep wounds.

He questioned why Williams fled the scene, disposed of the clothes he’d been wearing that night and hid at his aunt’s house for four days before turning himself into police.

Laurie-Anne Power, defending Williams, had earlier read out a statement from his former employer, Michael Abraham.

Mr Abraham took Williams on as an apprentice chef, where he catered for the Clifford Chance Global Law firm.

He described him as “quiet, friendly and polite” and, having seen a photo of the lethal weapon, said it wasn’t a knife from his kitchen.

In his closing statement, Mr Reece told the jury: “We say the defendant brutally murdered Marcel Campbell in a sustained and savage attack with a lethal weapon and ask you to return a vote of guilty.”

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