Two members of a group accused of murdering a Sheffield dad in broad daylight say they were present when the attack took place but were not involved, a court heard.
22-year-old Jarvin Blake died from a knife wound to the chest a matter of minutes after being stabbed in Catherine Street, Burngreave at around 3pm on March 8 last year.
Josiah Foster, 26, of Cookson Close, Wadsley Bridge; Caine Gray, 27, of Treetown Crescent, Treeton and Devon Walker, 24, formerly of Burngreave, are all accused of murdering Mr Blake, which they deny.
Walker denies a further charge of inflicting actual bodily harm on Mr Blake’s friend, Declan Maw, during the same incident.
A fourth defendant, Lewis Barker, 27, of HMP Lincoln, pleaded guilty to Mr Blake’s murder last week, and will be sentenced following the conclusion of this trial. He was remanded into custody until then.
The jury of eight women and four men heard transcripts of police interviews given by Walker and Foster at court today.
Walker told police he had known Mr Blake since 2008, and the pair had become ‘close’ after coming into contact again towards the end of 2017.
He said he had been with Mr Blake and Mr Maw in the hours before the attack, and described how as the three of them neared the junction of Brackley Street and Catherine Street a car driven by Foster pulled up.
Walker said he knew Foster because the pair would visit their friend, Levan Menzies, in prison together.
“I said hello [to Foster] and that’s when the two passengers jumped out and started chasing Jarvin and Declan,” Walker told police, adding that he continued talking to Foster and eventually intervened in the attacks by saying ‘what are you doing’ to the unknown man assaulting Mr Maw in a nearby garden.
At the opening of the trial, prosecutor, Simon Kealey QC, said it is the Crown’s case that Walker directed the other defendants travelling in a car driven by Foster to where Mr Blake was ‘so that they could then attack him’.
During his interview, police told Walker that Mr Maw believed he and Mr Blake had been ‘set up’ by Walker.
No, it’s not true,” replied Walker.
When asked about the contact between him and Foster in the hours before Mr Blake was murdered, Walker said they had been discussing an upcoming prison visit to see Menzies.
The court was told how Walker took two mobile phones belonging to Mr Blake from the murder scene, and subsequently stashed them in a bush in his garden.
Walker told police he took Mr Blake’s phones because he wanted to call Mr Blake’s partner, Kelsey Dixon, to tell her what had happened and that she should go to the hospital.
He said that after taking the phones he noticed one of them was locked, so went to where Mr Maw was lying injured to ask him for Mr Blake’s pin code.
Walker said Mr Maw gave him Ms Dixon’s mobile number instead, and told him to ‘have’ Mr Blake’s phones.
Detectives asked Walker why, after being given Ms Dixon’s number, he did not wait at the murder scene for the police to arrive so he could give them Mr Blake’s phone.
“I wasn’t thinking,” he replied.
Asked why he later stashed Mr Blake’s phone in a bush, Walker told police: “I have heard the worst of my friend and I freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to throw them away for you not to get them, but at the same time I didn’t want them in my house.”
In his interview, Foster told police that he ended up in Catherine Street, Burngreave after agreeing to give two white males a lift to Parson Cross in his blue Volvo vehicle because he was driving there anyway to see his mother.
He said he was on his way there when he stopped the car so he could speak with Walker, who he also refers to as ‘Dubz,’ and the two passengers got out.
Foster said: “I recognised Jarvin by his hair. He smiled [at me] I carried on talking. They walked off, Jarvin and the other [man], and it happened while I was talking to Dubz. I heard, I don’t know how to explain it with words, it was a racket.
“Then someone’s come out of one of the houses, saying they are going to phone the police. At this moment in time, I’m thinking: ‘what’s going on?’.”
Foster told police that he drove away with the two males in the car, and only realised what had happened later that day.
When asked about the identity of the two males, police noted that Foster was ‘getting upset’ and was ‘worried about what would happen to his family’.
Mr Kealey told the jury last week that Gray was interviewed by police on March 16 and July 17 last year, and ‘elected to make no comment to all questions on each occasion’.
Foster, Gray and Walker all deny murdering Mr Blake, who was a dad to three young children.
Walker denies a further charge of inflicting actual bodily harm on Mr Maw.
The trial, which is expected to conclude at the end of this month, continues.