Jury told man died af­ter be­ing stabbed

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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