Seafront murder trial: update

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A teenager injured in a knife attack in which his pal died denied they had gone looking to settle a score with the accused killer on the night of the double stabbing.

The 17-year-old was wounded in the leg when he went to help Michael “Angel” Graham, 19, who died after being stabbed 12 times in the back in a brawl on Scarborough seafront.

Teesside Crown Court has been told he was set on by a 16-year-old former friend who counted the thrusts so he could later text friends he had stabbed his victim 12 times.

Angel, from Scarborough and Leeds, had been friends with his killer, but the pair fell out after Mr Graham taunted the other boy for sleeping with a 12-year-old girl, it was alleged.

Giving evidence via video link, the surviving victim - still 17 - told the jury Angel and the defendant had been trading insulting texts for two weeks before the stabbings.

Angel referred to the younger boy as a “paedo”, the teenager told the jury, adding: “Angel found out he (the defendant) had been sleeping with under-age lasses. He thought it was a bit wrong.”

He added that Angel also carried a weapon - a red lock knife with a skull on it - which he used to protect himself while living in the Chapeltown area of Leeds.

But he only kept it to scare people and it was folded away at the time of the fatal attack - which happened only about 90 minutes after the last exchange of text messages, he added.

The jury has been told that the defendant’s group had been hanging around at McDonald’s that evening before heading for the beach.

A series of text insults had been traded including threats of violence and taunts to the defendant with references such as “legal lasses - something you are not used to”.

During cross-examination, Paul Greaney QC, defending, asked: “Against this background of angry messages was Angel looking for the defendant?”

The teenager replied: “No. We diverted away from McDonalds so we did not bump into them. We went along the seafront to avoid them.”

But the jury has been told Angel was surrounded by the rival gang on the seafront near the Olympia arcade around 11.30pm.

The jury heard 6ft tall Mr Graham was on top of an 18-year-old man and getting the upper hand in the fight when the killer stepped forward and repeatedly and stealthily stabbed him in the back.

The surviving teenager thought the attacker was just using his fists until he also felt a pain in his knee and saw the silver knife glimmer in the boy’s hand as he stepped back, it was said.

Tim Roberts QC, prosecuting, said after the stabbing the defendant had hiding out at a flat where he was visited by some other teenagers.

“He was describing himself to them as a murderer,” Mr Roberts continued.

“He told them how he had done the stabbing and how the knife had been thrown away in a lake so it would rust and no fingerprints would be found.”

Police later came to the flat and arrested everyone, he added.

Angel died from multiple wounds to his back shortly after the incident on April 13.

The accused, who is now 17 but cannot be named for legal reasons, denies murder.

An order has also been made banning identification of anyone else involved in the case - because of their ages - apart from the dead man.

The trial continues.