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Boy accused of trader’s murder had knife “as protection against gangs”

12:40 04 July 2014

Ashley Fagan was remanded in custody to await sentence.

Ashley Fagan was remanded in custody to await sentence.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A 15-year-old boy accused of murdering a trader at Queens Market has admitted he carried a knife because of an ongoing “postcode” gang problem.

Father-of two-Rashid Naeem, 29, of Clements Road, East Ham, suffered fatal stab wounds afer confronting three boys who stole a ladies’ watch from his stall in Green Street, Upton Park on Sunday, February 16 and died two days later in hospital.

The alleged killer, the youngest of the three, faced questioning as part of the ongoing trial of two 15-year-olds and another aged 16 at the Old Bailey.

The boy, who was 14 at the time of the killing and cannot be named for legal reasons, suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and claimed he could not remember much of the attack, because he did not take his medication that day.

“Maybe if I had taken my medication none of this would have happened,” he told the court. “But I’m not a loser.

“If a guy starts to violate me, I will violate back. If someone starts a fight I’m not going to let them beat me up.”

After waking up late following a party the night before, his mother explained he had “gone to get some chicken” and claimed would be back “in ten minutes” to take his medication.

The next she saw her son however, he was in Forest Gate police station, charged with murder.

She told the court he had previously suffered as a result of living in the E13 area of East Ham, running into trouble on a number of occasions travelling through the E16 postcode to get to school.

“It’s not a gang issue, more of a postcode problem,” she said.

After a trip to the Excel arena that alledgedly led to a teacher being assaulted by the gates, the school reached a decision that it would be safer for him to travel to and from school in taxis.

But after a group smashed the windows of a cab picking him up from school, he explained that he carried around the alleged murder weapon for protection.

“I’m worried about attacks by guys from the Custom House area,” he told the court.

“I need to carry a knife in my own area in case the guys from Custom House come. I’m not just going to stay indoors all my life.”

His mother claimed he has a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality, depending on whether he had taken his daily ADHD treatment.

“When he’s on his medication he’s smart, attentive, good-natured, kind and loving,” she added.

“When he’s off his medication you need to know where he is. Everytime he didn’t take his medication he did something naughty at school.”

The trial continues.

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