Man accused of Westfield Stratford murder tells court: ‘I’m no maniac’

Liam Woodards, 24, died at Westfield Stratford City after he was stabbed in the chest.

Liam Woodards, 24, died at Westfield Stratford City after he was stabbed in the chest. - Credit: central news

An 18-year-old accused of stabbing a man to death at Westfield Stratford City told the Old Bailey: “I’m no maniac.”

An 18-year-old accused of stabbing a man to death at Westfield Stratford City told the Old Bailey: “I’m no maniac.”

Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith, 18, from Hackney Wick, denied murdering rival Liam Woodards, 24, from Stratford during a gang brawl on June 29.

Giving evidence, Kojo-Smith told the court yesterday he didn’t mean to harm Woodards and said he panicked as he tried to escape from the other gang and could not remember exactly how the knife became embedded in his victim’s chest.

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC said: “You stabbed him with sufficient force that he fell to the floor. I suggest you knew exactly what you did when you went for the most vulnerable part of the human being’s body.


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“You pulled the knife out of his chest and continued to follow him didn’t you?”

“I don’t know,” said Kojo-Smith, adding: “You’re saying I’m some sort of maniac - but I’m not.”

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He claimed he wrongly believed Mr Woodards was armed.

After the stabbing, Kojo-Smith is alleged to have dumped his weapon before bragging to a friend in Clinton Cards: “I got rid of the ting.”

Three other alleged members of Kojo-Smith’s gang, Michael Alvaranga, 24, from Leytonstone, Jason Rigabie, 23, from Stratford, and Travis Townsend, 21, from Hither Green are also standing trial after they denied violent disorder charges.

Anselm Legemah, 18, from Plaistow; Jason Vaughan, 25, from West Ham; Emmanuel Oloyede, 18, from Essex; and Tony Caton, 21, from Stratford, deny the same charge.

Danny Caton, 24, from Stratford; Jason Ndefo, 22, from Plaistow; and Rhys Regisford, 21, from Plaistow, are among five others who pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

The trial continues.

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