Victim’s ‘friendly chat with killer’

Viictim: Mubarak Ali.
Viictim: Mubarak Ali.
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A FRIEND of a young man stabbed to death in a Sheffield street told a jury he saw the victim ‘linking arms’ with his alleged murderer just minutes before the killing.

Mubarak Ali, aged 23, from Broomhall, was knifed twice in the chest on Mount Pleasant Road, Highfield.

The attack was allegedly carried out by 22-year-old James Knowles, shortly after he was set upon by a gang of Somali men - including Mr Ali - inside Swarv barber’s shop on Abbeydale Road.

Knowles, of Deer Park Road, Stannington, denies murder, claiming he was acting in self-defence.

Witness Irfan Khan said he went to Swarv on September 30 after buying lunch on London Road. He told the court he saw an argument happening at the back of the shop, but didn’t hear what the row was about.

He recognised Mr Ali and his younger brother Abdi, both of whom he had known for more than two years.

Mr Khan said Mr Ali left 30 seconds later, talking to Knowles in a friendly way.

“They walked out with their arms linked around their shoulders,” he said.

He said Mr Ali and Knowles turned right up Crowther Place, but he later saw his friend walking down the road injured.

“He was wearing a white T-shirt covered in blood,” he said.

But Abbas Lakha QC, defending, told Mr Khan his account was ‘what Mubarak Ali’s family and friends want the court to believe happened’.

“That would then suggest what happened afterwards was because James Knowles was being an aggressor. What you have told the jury is not the truth,” he said.

The trial continues.