Stefan Appleton murder trial: ‘Machete killer shouted name of Red Pitch gang as he made getaway’

Stefan Appleton

Stefan Appleton - Credit: Archant

Teenager Stefan Appleton was brutally stabbed to death with a “zombie killer” machete as he lay helplessly on the ground, a court heard today.

Tragic: Tributes to Stefan laid out in Caldy Walk following his death (Picture: Ken Mears)

Tragic: Tributes to Stefan laid out in Caldy Walk following his death (Picture: Ken Mears) - Credit: Archant

Stefan, 17, was killed in broad daylight in Nightingale Park, off Clifton Road in Canonbury, on June 10 last year.

Two 17-year-old males, both from the Islington borough but who cannot be named, deny his murder.

At the Old Bailey trial opening this morning, prosecutor Simon Deninson told the jury: “The two defendants rode together on a stolen moped and pulled up to where Stefan and his friends were playing next to Nightingale Park [at 6pm].

“Defendant One was driving and Defendant Two was the passenger. They had with them a machete-type knife. Defendant Two jumped from the moped and took it out of the sheath, which he left on the ground.

“He ran towards Stefan and his friends, who ran away towards the park. He went after Stefan, who tripped over a low fence and fell. As he lay helplessly on the ground, Defendant Two stabbed him repeatedly.”

Stefan, who lived in the nearby Marquees Estate, suffered a fatal wound to his chest, which penetrated his heart, Mr Deninson said.

Most Read

He managed to get up, and was initially chased again by Defendant Two. However, he turned round and ran back towards Defendant One on the moped.

Friends and neighbours rushed to Stefan’s help, but he died in hospital one hour and 45 minutes later.

Mr Deninson continued: “Defendant Two was heard to shout the letters “RP” [as he and Defendant One made their getaway] standing for ‘Red Pitch’ – the name of a gang in conflict with a gang in Nightingale Park.”

Stefan Appleton (Picture: Met Police)

Stefan Appleton (Picture: Met Police) - Credit: Archant

They, alongside a 16-year-old from Hertfordshire, also deny a charge of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.

Mr Deninson said: “Defendant Three was himself stabbed on April 7. It happened just around the corner from where Stefan was killed. We suggest the incident is very much connected.

“Defendant Three was with Defendant One an hour before on an estate in Dalston and provided him with the crash helmet. He was also in mobile phone contact with Defendant Two 15 minutes beforehand.

“He and another young man followed the moped on bicycles, and we were in fact chased away by friends of Stefan.

“This was clearly a ploy to go to Nightingale Park and stab someone – a plan to which all three were a part of, and was put into effect by Defendants One and Two.”

Mr Deninson also described the weapon used to kill Stefan: “This was not the sort of small kitchen knife that is so often foolishly carried by young people and then used in a moment of madness.

“This was a weapon with no legitimate purpose. It’s called a ‘zombie killer’, which sounds as if it should be a toy but is anything but. It was a very big knife, like a machete, that was deadly in the wrong hands.”

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