SUS­PECT: I TRIED TO HELP

Mur­der trial jury hears from de­fen­dant

The Chronicle - - Front Page - By Sara Ni­chol Re­porter sara.ni­chol@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A TEENAGER ac­cused of be­ing an ac­com­plice in the al­leged mur­der of a man in New­cas­tle City Cen­tre told po­lice he tried to dis­arm the stab­ber.

Dairan Browne, 19, is stand­ing trial along­side a 17-year-old boy for the killing of Frankie Cooper in Princess Square in Fe­bru­ary.

Pros­e­cu­tors claim the younger boy, who was 16 at the time and can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, stabbed Frankie in the heart in broad day­light.

They also say Browne is guilty of mur­der by “ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing, by his pres­ence” the youth to at­tack the 22-year-old.

Dur­ing the trial at New­cas­tle Crown Court, a jury heard tran­scripts of the pair’s first in­ter­views with po­lice af­ter they were ar­rested.

In them, Browne claimed he him­self was a vic­tim af­ter be­ing slashed in the hand as he tried to dis­arm the al­leged stab­ber, who he said he didn’t recog­nise.

He also said he didn’t see the fa­tal blow to Frankie’s chest as he’d fled the scene to run to New­cas­tle’s Royal Vic­to­ria In­fir­mary to get treat­ment for his in­jury.

Browne told de­tec­tives he was com­ing out of a nearby Tesco when he saw a fight go­ing on be­tween a group of males and one of them was armed with a knife.

He said: “I was just be­ing a standby but, ob­vi­ously, with a knife, it’s se­ri­ous then. I didn’t want any­body get­ting hurt, so I walked over and all I re­mem­ber is grab­bing that knife with my hand, the sharp bit.

“I tried to get it off him. I didn’t get it off him, so I just ran away. I looked at my hand and it was pour­ing with blood.”

The teenager added: “I’m just get­ting across that I’m a vic­tim here. I just want you guys to know that.”

Browne, from Mil­ton Keynes, told the po­lice he was vis­it­ing New­cas­tle on the day of the al­leged at­tack on Fe­bru­ary 20 and had ar­rived at 10.30am be­fore head­ing into the city cen­tre to go shop­ping.

He said he was com­ing out of Tesco and ty­ing his shoe lace when he heard peo­ple shout­ing and two men “squar­ing-up to each other” in Princess Square, one of whom was armed with a knife.

Browne told of­fi­cers: “I have gone up to the big­gest per­son with the flick knife and gone to dis­arm him. I grabbed the blade and he sliced open my hand. I’m not real­is­ing, so still try­ing to get hold of the knife and I then look at my hand and it’s cut to shreds.”

Browne claimed to de­tec­tives that he fled the scene and was helped by a mem­ber of public to New­cas­tle’s Royal Vic­to­ria In­fir­mary, where he re­ceived treat­ment for his in­jury and was later ar­rested.

The court also heard tran­scripts from the youth’s first in­ter­view with po­lice, in which he made no re­ply to the ma­jor­ity of ques­tions.

Pros­e­cu­tors say that Frankie was killed by the youth and Browne, as passers-by went about their busi­ness just af­ter 1pm on Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 20. Frankie died five days later.

The court has heard the youth later told po­lice he had a “beef” with Frankie, who he knew, although no clear mo­tive for the al­leged stab­bing was out­lined.

The youth and Browne, of Shep­herds Hay, Mil­ton Keynes, Buck­ing­hamshire, deny mur­der­ing Frankie and wound­ing with in­tent in re­la­tion to his friend, who they are ac­cused of slash­ing.

The trial con­tin­ues.

Frankie Cooper was stabbed in the heart in New­cas­tle

Po­lice at the scene in Princess Square

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