Scarborough murder trial: Suspect admits there was a plot to attack Solomon Robinson, who was fatally stabbed
A suspect in the Solomon Robinson murder trial has offered a guilty plea to manslaughter after admitting there was a plot to attack the 26-year-old Scarborough man, who was fatally stabbed outside Scarborough Town Hall.
Kieron Watkinson, 18, who still denies murder, admitted he was at the drug-fuelled party on North Marine Road where a deadly plot was allegedly hatched hours before the horrific incident.
CCTV footage later captured the teenager placing a latex glove on his hand moments before the incident in the town-hall gardens.
Watkinson - who had taken a cocktail of Ecstasy, MDMA, cocaine and cannabis at the drug-and-weapons party - also admits sending a message to a female acquaintance about 20 minutes before the killing, saying: “Wow, off to stab up. Heads off in town now. Off on a move. Big cash.”
He also searched for Mr Robinson’s Facebook profile before the attack, which, according to the prosecution, was shown to the rest of the five-man group so the victim could be “targeted” by other members of the gang.
The jury at Leeds Crown Court heard that the five suspects, all from Scarborough, had been partying at the flat where drugs and alcohol were being consumed and knives were on display.
The prosecution say it was at this flat where the plot to ambush and cause “serious harm” to Mr Robinson was hatched.
Despite Mr Watkinson’s offer of plea to manslaughter - he claims he was merely at the scene for “extra manpower” - the prosecution is still pressing ahead with murder charges against all the defendants.
Prosecutor Tahir Khan QC said the gang went into the town centre armed with “big, scary knives” to look for Mr Robinson and launch an ambush-style attack.
“(Mr Watkinson) admits there was a plan to attack Mr Robinson,” added Mr Khan.
“He admits saying to a (named woman in a text message) that they were on a ‘move’. He admits wearing a ‘finger’ knife (at the party).”
Mr Khan, delivering his closing speech of the trial, told the jury: “We say the evidence (that) Mr Watkinson gave in the witness box was designed to keep him out of… the fray for (a murder charge). He was there (at the scene) with others.”
Following Watkinson’s arrest, police found text messages on his phone which suggested he was a “low-level” cannabis dealer.
Video footage of the party at North Marine Road - which was filmed on a mobile phone and shared on Snapchat - showed at least two other blades, one thought to be a machete, alongside lines of cocaine, drug bags and weighing scales as Grime or rap music blared in the background.
At one stage, the film shows a knife protruding from the waistband of Watkinson’s tracksuit bottoms.
The jury was shown harrowing CCTV footage of the attack which showed three silhouetted figures, all wearing hoods, brandishing knives in the town-hall gardens. At least two of the knives were described as long-bladed weapons, one of which, according to a witness, looked like a “sword”.
Twenty-two-year-old Stefan Selvage has already admitted murder after plunging a long-bladed knife into Mr Robinson’s back after following the victim into the gardens on his bike. The fierce blow, which almost pierced Mr Robinson’s entire body, led to “catastrophic” bleeding.
But the prosecution say that Selvage did not act alone and that it was a joint attack by all five men, including 21-year-old Callon Brass, Dawid Goral, 21, Stevie Low, 22, and Watkinson.
Just before the attack at about 2am on October 20 2019, Goral was the first to enter the park, followed by the others, as Mr Robinson approached with two friends who were trailing just behind him in St Nicholas Street.
CCTV then captured what appeared to be a fight involving several men, before Mr Robinson staggered back towards the park entrance and collapsed on the pavement, bleeding profusely and gasping for air as the attackers ran off.
He was taken to hospital after losing consciousness but was pronounced dead at about 5am. The cause of death was massive blood loss from a single, 11-inch-deep knife wound to the lower back which had severed a major artery.
The prosecution say that the “overwhelming likelihood” is that the third man seen pulling out a knife in the footage is Goral, whom they referred to as “Man Z”.
Goral admits that he lied to police about not seeing anyone with a knife at the scene. He now claims he saw Watkinson and Brass with knives and the “glint” of a blade before the fatal blow was struck.
Mr Khan said that Low had also lied to police about his whereabouts following the fatal stabbing.
Low claimed he had remained in Scarborough following the stabbing, but mobile-phone cell-site technology showed that he had in fact travelled to Newark in Nottinghamshire, before returning to Scarborough and handing himself in to police.
“The account he has given…is riddled with lies…to support what some of his co-accused say,” added Mr Khan.
The QC said it was “evident that (all five men) were acting together from start to finish (and) the suggestion that Stefan Selvage acted alone makes no sense”.
“This was an orchestrated plan with all knives coming out together, with a common purpose,” he added.
“Three of them armed themselves with big knives before they left the flat…planning to attack somebody. That’s why they had these big, scary knives and their plan was to cause someone – in this case Mr Robinson – really serious harm.”
Anthony Metzer, for Watkinson, said his client didn’t take an active part in the alleged plot, was simply at the scene for “extra manpower” and “didn’t know that Mr Robinson would come to harm.”
He added, however: “It is not (Watkinson’s) case…that Mr Selvage was acting alone. It is his case that he had no knowledge of anybody else carrying a knife.”
He said the prosecution case had not proved there was any “grudge or history” between Watkinson and Mr Robinson, although he conceded that the teenager was “heavily under the influence of drink and drugs” at the time of the attack.
He said although Watkinson had been found with a “small knife” at the point of arrest, there was “no evidence tying (Watkinson) to any of the larger knives”.
He said the CCTV evidence of Watkinson placing a latex glove on his hand moments before the killing was “more consistent with stoned, absent-minded, bizarre behaviour”.
Watkinson, of Endcliff Crescent, Brass, of Eastborough, Goral, of Durham Street, and Low, of Longwestgate, all deny murder.
Selvage, of Colescliffe Road, pleaded guilty to the charge before the trial.
Despite there just being one fatal blow, the prosecution has only to prove that all five men took part in a premeditated, joint attack. The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts on Wednesday.