Stabbed teenager Michael “Angel” Graham was a victim of “rage, hate and a desire for revenge,” a jury was told yesterday during final speeches at the trial of his accused murderer.
Mr Graham was knifed 12 times in the back by a 16-year-old he had accused of being a paedophile, the murder trial has been told.
The jury is due to retire to consider its verdict today.
Yesterday Tim Roberts QC, prosecuting, said the accused teenager had “gathered around himself a group of like minded teenagers, two of whom armed themselves with sticks”.
He said: “Their collective animosity towards Michael Graham made a confrontation with him that night inevitable.
“There was no need for this behaviour. If the group had disbanded and gone peacefully to their homes Michael Graham’s death could have been avoided.”
Mr Roberts claimed a text message revealed the group’s true purpose in going down to the beach that night.
Just before 9.30pm he texted a pal saying: “Were gunna go down later bruv show him how this family rolls.”
Mr Roberts continued: “They were not about to idle time away in an amusement arcade.
“They had a common purpose, they had weapons, they had numbers and they smashed a bottle in the street as they went.”
Paul Greaney QC, defending said he was not seeking to excuse what the teenager did in stabbing and killing Mr Graham.
“No sensible person would seek to excuse that dreadful crime and we will not seek to do so,” he added.
“Make no mistake – we are not asking you to let the defendant off scot-free for his crime.
“All we ask you to accept is that he falls to be punished not for the crime of murder but rather for the crime of manslaughter.”
He described the taking of Mr Graham’s life as a “terrible”, “dreadful” and “cowardly” act but underlined the teenager was only 16 at the time and regarded as a “nice, normal lad”.
“He was bullied by Michael Graham – a bigger and older person – over a significant period of time. As a result had begun to harm himself and even contemplate suicide.”