Jury told man died after being stabbed
A COVENTRY man died after being stabbed through the heart by a former school mate, a jury has heard.
Daniel Kennell was killed by a single stab wound to the chest just yards from his home in Wyken last summer.
Yesterday a jury heard Ryan Preston, the man accused of Mr Kennell’s murder, stabbed his pal before getting into his mum’s car and calmly telling her to drive away.
At the opening of his trial at Warwick Crown Court, a jury was told the two men had been arguing on the morning of July 8 last year.
Ryan Preston, 27, of Hermitage Road, Wyken, denies a charge of murder.
He is standing trial alongside his mother, Tracey Preston, 53, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assisting an offender for driving her son away from the scene on St Austell Road
Opening the case on the first day of the trial, prosecutor John Butterfield QC told the jury the two men had been seen fighting on CCTV at Cauldon Castle Park at around 11.25am on July 8.
During that fight, Ryan Preston called his mum who later, after Daniel Kennell has left, picked her son up in his car.
Mr Butterfield explained that Mr Kennell and Ryan Preston had known each other since being classmates at school and had “had their ups and downs”.
He stated that in the lead-up to Mr Kennell’s death, Ryan Preston had a “hang-up about an ex-girlfriend” and “couldn’t shake off a suspicion” that Mr Kennell was “carrying on behind his back with that exgirlfriend”.
The prosecutor said that suspicion didn’t have “any basis in reality whatsoever”.
He also added that both Mr Kennell and Ryan Preston were both “enthusiastic users of drugs - and cocaine in particular”, and Ryan Preston tried to claim that their arguments that day had been regarding drugs.
During that first fight, no weapon had been involved, but having been picked up by Tracey Preston, Ryan Preston demanded to be taken to Daniel Kennell’s home at St Austell Way.
Following the first fight Mr Kennell was seen to leave the area to make his way home to St Austell Road on foot.
The court heard that after being picked up by his mother, Ryan Preston and Tracey Preston drove to the same street looking to “intercept” Mr Kennell.
When they arrived, before Daniel Kennell, Ryan Preston was said, in a rage, to have thrown something at Mr Kennell’s home, breaking a window, before throwing a paving stone onto Mr Kennell’s car windscreen.
When Mr Kennell did arrive home, he was involved in a “confrontation” with Tracey Preston who got out of her car.
The argument between the two men then started up again.
“It quickly came to blows”, said Mr Butterfield, “and both men were aiming blows.
“I’m not suggesting that Mr Kennell was completely passive. It would be pretty unusual if he had been.
“He was shouting and it seems likely he aimed at least one punch at Ryan Preston.
“But you may take the view it was pretty minor stuff compared to the aggression and threat being offered by Ryan Preston.
“Certainly not enough to make Mr Kennell the true aggressor in this particular violence and not nearly enough to offer up any profound sense of threat or danger to Mr Preston so as to justify the defendant choosing to take his knife and stab Daniel Kennell with it.
“But Ryan Preston was not prepared at this point to have any sort of fair fight.”
Mr Kennell suffered a single stab wound and it was that wound that killed him, Mr Butterfield said.
A post-mortem examination showed that the wound penetrated Mr Kennell’s heart and also caused damage to his stomach and spleen.
Mr Butterfield said that Ryan Preston “quickly made himself scarce” after stabbing Mr Kennell and was driven from the scene by his mother.
He was later arrested at the home of his sister.
In interview he answered no comment to questions from detectives but, in a prepared statement, claimed Mr Kennell was a bully and described him as being “like a mad bull” during their arguments.