Westfield Stratford murder trial collapses after jury ‘breakdown’


- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A murder trial launched after a young man was stabbed to death at Westfield Stratford City has collapsed which is thought to have cost the taxpayer up to £2million.

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

Judge Stephen Kramer QC said he decided to end the case after nearly three months because of an “irretrievable breakdown” involving the twelve jurors.

They were trying seven legally-aided defendants - each represented by a top barrister - at the Old Bailey in relation to the murder of 24 year-old Liam Woodards at the shopping complex weeks before the London 2012 Olympic Games.

All seven will now face a retrial lasting another three months.

Mr Woodards was allegedly stabbed to death by Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith, 18, during a mass brawl involving two gangs on 29 June last year.

Kojo-Smith was on trial for murder and six others were accused of violent disorder.

The case began on 22 April and the jury were sent out to begin their deliberations on 26 June.

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Over the last three weeks the court has rarely sat on the case because of problems with the jury.

Judge Kramer made a court order banning reporting any detail of anything that was not said in court.

With the cost of running a courtroom at the Old Bailey put at £30,000 a day. the three month trial is thought to have cost the taxpayer up to £2million.

Discharging the jury he told them that he had made the decision because of “an irretrievable breakdown in your number.”

A date for the retrial is to be set on Friday (July 19).

Kojo-Smith, of Castle Close, Hackney Wick, denied murder.

Michale Alvaranga, 24, of Cookes Close, Leytonstone; Javin Rigabie, 23, of Chobham Road, Stratford; Anselm Legemah, 18, of Elkington Road, Plaistow; Jason Vaughan, 25, of Govier Close, West Ham; Emmanuel Oloyede, 18, of Cowper Avenue, Tilbury, Essex; and Tony Caton, 21, of Paul Street, Stratford, denied violent disorder.

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