Luther Edwards murder trial: Friend who tried to fend off attackers describes last moments

PUBLISHED: 17:01 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:01 24 May 2018

Luther Edwards. Picture source: Edwards family

Luther Edwards. Picture source: Edwards family

Edwards family

Luther Edwards, who was fatally stabbed and beaten outside a boxing event in Bethnal Green, asked a close friend to look out for him not long before he died, a court heard.

Luther posing with his daughters for the family albumn. Picture source: Edwards family Luther posing with his daughters for the family albumn. Picture source: Edwards family

Jurors heard that after getting into a dispute with a group of men which included his girlfriend’s ex-lover earlier in the night, the 32-year-old father-of-two asked Elijah Johnson, his friend of ten years, to look out for him.

“Don’t let them rush me,” he told Mr Johnson, who happened to be at York Hall to watch the same fight.

The court was told how the pair then watched the fight and once it was over, Mr Johnson turned to look for Mr Edwards, also known as Beans, but he was gone.

Mr Johnson, who was giving evidence at the Old Bailey against four men accused of murdering Mr Edwards, said he then darted for the exit and saw a chaotic fight break out with his friend at the centre of the action.

Crime cordon at Bethnal Green's York Hall where Luther Edwards was stabbed after a Friday night boxing event. Picture: Mike Brooke Crime cordon at Bethnal Green's York Hall where Luther Edwards was stabbed after a Friday night boxing event. Picture: Mike Brooke

“Hands off Beans!” shouted Mr Johnson as he left the building, he told the court.

The court then heard how he waded into the group in an effort to separate Mr Edwards from his attackers.

He said he saw Mr Edwards swing two punches and later saw someone else throw a punch at him, but said he could not give any description of either person and did not know whether they were the same person.

“I’m not willing to go into that,” he told the court.

CCTV footage showed him entering the fray to try to stop the men from hurting Mr Edwards, but Mr Johnson said he realised his friend had been stabbed even before the attack was over because his blood had got on his hands.

“I have never seen so much blood in such a short amount of time,” he said.

“Because he had been stabbed I was aware of the fact there could have been a knife or a bottle,” he said.

As Mr Edwards then broke away from the fight and ran into the traffic, Mr Johnson followed, he said.

The court then heard how Mr Edwards did a “dead man walk” over to a BP garage forecourt, staggering and repeatedly collapsing as he went.

After his attackers finally desisted, Mr Johnson said he removed his t-shirt and used it to try to stop the bleeding.

Christopher O’Sullivan, Jerome Osbourne, Kurtis Thomas and Marlon Thomas are on trial accused of murder. All deny the charge.

The trial continues.

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