East Ham man ‘stabbed cousin for stealing his phone’

A man stabbed a cousin through the heart for stealing his mobile phone, a court heard.

Anthony Townsend, 32, of Wellstead Road, East Ham, spent hours trying to track down Winston Brown and take back the missing handset.

Drug user Mr Brown, 33, had asked to borrow �10 but when Townsend refused he stole the phone, the Old Bailey heard.

Townsend, who denies murder, tracked him down to an east London crack den, grabbed a serrated kitchen knife and plunged it into Mr Brown’s chest, piercing his aorta.

Jonathan Turner QC, prosecuting, told the court that Townsend was “extremely angry” after spending the night of March 31 scouring Walthamstow, after realising the phone was missing.

In a conversation overheard by a taxi driver Townsend is alleged to have told his victim: “You don’t take my phone and think you can get away with it.”

“The inevitable altercation took place in the hallway somewhere between the kitchen door and the foot of the stairs,” said the prosecutor.

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“Mr Brown died of a single stab wound – witnesses saw this blow, but didn’t all realise the defendant had a knife in his hand at the time.

“The defendant apparently turned around and walked out of the house as so on as he had done it,” he added.

The attack took place at a house in Brunel Road, Walthamstow, shortly before 8am on April 1.

Mr Brown was carried into the street where others from inside the house tried to perform CPR.

Neighbours who saw the incident called the emergency services, but Mr Brown was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to the Whittingdon Hospital.

Detectives discovered a knife missing from a block in the kitchen but the weapon has never been found, the court heard.

Townsend was arrested two days later and in a prepared statement admitted the stabbing. But he claimed his cousin had been “intimidating and bullying” him since they were children.

“His actions on April 1 were the final straw,” Townsend said. “He was taunting me and I completely lost control – something snapped. I felt I had been seriously wronged by his behaviour towards me.

“I picked up a knife to stab him in the arm. I did not intend to kill him.”

Mr Turner said: “Winston Brown was not the aggressor – he was not seen to be armed and the defendant didn’t have a mark on him.

“The suggestion he bullied the defendant all his life – you will hear the witnesses – is ridiculous. This was targeted, it was a stab wound to the upper-right side of the chest.” The trial continues.