Sheffield teen collapsed & died on stranger's doorstep after broad daylight stabbing, jury told
Xander Howarth and Thomas Hardiman, both aged 18, are accused of murdering Adam Abdul-Basit during an incident in a Sheffield suburb.
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Despite the best efforts of medics who rushed to the scene, 18-year-old Adam Abdul-Basit died from his injuries outside a property on Smelter Wood Road in the Stradbroke area of Sheffield at just after 1pm on Monday, May 8, 2023.
18-year-olds Xander Howarth, of Richmond Park View, Handsworth, Sheffield, and Thomas Hardiman, of Edenhall Road, Deep Pit, Sheffield, have gone on trial at Sheffield Crown Court, accused of murdering Mr Abdul-Basit, a charge both defendants deny. Both Mr Howarth and Mr Hardiman were aged 17 when the fatal incident took place, but have turned 18 in the months since.
Opening the prosecution case to the jury of seven men and five women today (November 20, 2023), Peter Moulson KC said the occupiers of the property where Mr Adbul-Basit collapsed returned home from holiday about three minutes before police arrived on the scene.
Mr Moulson said one of the occupiers saw what she believed to be a plastic bag near to the driveway of her home, before noticing a 'training shoe' and blood nearby.
"Upon seeing the blood, and realising the grave nature of the situation, her partner called the emergency services," Mr Moulson said.
Describing the circumstances of what prosecutors say were Mr Abdul-Basit's final moments, Mr Moulson continued: "It appears, for some reason, Thomas Hardiman and Xander Howarth gave chase to Mr Abdul-Basit. They were wielding knives, Mr Abdul-Basit also had a knife. Mr Abdul-Basit ran away in the opposite direction."
Mr Abdul-Basit had been walking with an individual named Daniel Iqbal, but he did not run with Mr Abdul-Basit, the court heard.
"The chase by these defendants continued, and Mr Abdul-Basit ran into the front garden of [a Smelter Wood Drive property]. There - the prosecution case is - that Mr Abdul-Basit was effectively cornered by these two defendants, both wielding their knives," Mr Moulson said.
Referring to a map provided to the jury, Mr Moulson said they have already seen how there was no access to the rear garden from the front of the premises, meaning Mr Abdul-Basit would therefore have had to come 'towards' the two defendants in order to escape. "The prosecution case is that Howarth and Hardiman, attacking as a team, stabbed Mr Abdul-Basit. He tried to stab those who chased him. He tries to defend himself, of course," Mr Moulson said, adding that the defendants both ran away from the scene, leaving Mr Abdul-Basit 'clutching his chest and collapsing on the doorstep' of the Smelter Wood Road property.
Mr Moulson told the jury that the 'entirety of the confrontation' was captured on CCTV, and not only will they be shown the footage during the course of the trial; but they are also set to be shown video footage of the defendants leaving their respective homes, and of the pair walking together down Ravenscroft Place, located a couple of streets away from Smelter Wood Drive, at 12.57pm - a matter of minutes before the killing.
The jury were told they are also set to hear evidence from pathologist, Dr Wilson. Mr Moulson said the prosecution 'apprehend' that Dr Wilson will tell them that Mr Abdul-Basit suffered a 15 centimetre-deep stab wound to the right of his chest, which 'entered backwards into his right lung,' causing 'cuts to his major airways and severe blood loss'. The stab wound also punctured Mr Abdul-Basit's right lung, and caused his left to fill with blood.
"Dr Wilson, we apprehend, will tell us that that was an unsurvivable injury. Dr Wilson will also tell us that Mr Abdul-Basit suffered a stab wound to his back, which was four centimetres deep, that he had a wound to the left side of his head, which had cut into the bone," Mr Moulson said.
Mr Moulson said that Mr Howarth - after receiving information he had been reported missing - voluntarily attended at Moss Way police station in Beighton, Sheffield on May 10, 2023 - two days after Mr Abdul-Basit's death - and brought Mr Hardiman with him.
Mr Howarth was subsequently informed he was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of Mr Abdul-Basit.
After Mr Howarth was arrested; Mr Hardiman told police that 'I was there as well, I was involved,' and, he too, was arrested and interviewed, the court heard.
Mr Moulson said both defendants subsequently answered 'no comment' to all questions in police interview.
He also told the jury that, while they deny murder, both defendants have pleaded guilty to a charge of having an offensive weapon on Smelter Wood Road on the day of Mr Abdul-Basit's death.
Concluding the prosecution opening, Mr Moulson says the Crown anticipate that the two defendants will claim they acted in 'self-defence,' but he told the jury that, in their view, that assertion does not 'get off the ground'.
He continued: "Both defendants are jointly responsible for the murder of Mr Abdul-Basit. They were together before, during and after the assault upon him. They acted as a team, giving chase together, both armed with similar weapons throughout, and thereby offering support and assistance to eachother...it was a joint enterprise."
Mr Howarth and Mr Hardiman both deny murdering Mr Abdul-Basit.
The trial continues.