Solomon Robinson murder: Trial told of alleged attackers' drugs-and-weapons party beforehand, and how they 'ambushed' the victim

Disturbing Snapchat videos recorded just hours before the fatal stabbing of Scarborough man Solomon Robinson showed his attackers weighing cannabis on digital scales and showing off a huge wad of cash notes during a party in which weapons were brandished and rap music boomed in the background, a trial has heard.

By Court Reporter
Thursday, 14th January 2021, 2:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 2:38 pm

During the drug-fuelled party at a flat on North Marine Road, the five men accused of Mr Robinson’s murder filmed their revelries on a mobile phone and sent the footage - including two videos and screenshots - to various people and associates, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The jury was shown footage of the raucous party, at which the suspects - Dawid Goral, 21, Callon Brass, 22, Stefan Selvage, 19, Kieran Watkinson, 19, and Stevie Low, 23 - were seen surrounded by drug paraphernalia and “at least” two knives.

The footage - in which weapons including a “finger knife” worn by Watkinson - would become an important piece of evidence after two of the people who were sent the two Snapchat videos passed them on to police, said prosecutor Tahir Khan QC.

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The murder scene. The video with this story also shows the murder scene, shot at the time.

“(The videos) show all five of the defendants were at this flat together that Saturday evening, into Sunday (morning),” he said.

“What this Snapchat footage demonstrates is a picture of the defendants in this flat, enjoying themselves in the hour leading up to the killing.

“You see the weighing of cannabis (and) lines of a white substance that can only be cocaine being readied, no doubt, to be snorted.”

Someone in the footage could also be seen weighing cocaine on digital scales. More white power had already been bagged up.

Solomon Robinson

The footage also showed one of the men “counting up a large amount of cash” and, more pertinently, two knives which were on show inside the flat.

“(The knives) are actually seen in the Snapchat footage being held by different individuals in the group,” Mr Khan told the jury.

“You also see the handle of a knife protruding from the waistband of some tracksuit bottoms worn by Kieran Watkinson.”

Mr Khan said the footage also showed Watkinson brandishing a black-handled knife.

“In the footage and clips, Mr Watkinson can also be seen carrying or wearing, on one of his fingers, something called a finger knife,” he added.

“In fact, that knife was found in his possession when (he) was arrested later.”

In one of the screenshots, the finger knife can be seen laid on a table next to several white lines of powder.

In one of the videos, Goral can be seen wearing a blue jacket matching the description of the clothing worn by a man carrying a “long-bladed article” at the scene of the murder.

Amid the unedifying scenes at the party, rap or Grime music can be heard blaring in the background.

Police discovered further mobile-phone evidence from internet searches made before the fatal attack, most notably searches by Watkinson and Low for Mr Robinson’s Facebook profile.

“Mr Watkinson seemed to have some interest in Solomon Robinson,” said Mr Khan.

On the night in question, before the gang left the party to go into the town centre, Watkinson sent a text message to a female acquaintance saying: “Wow, off to stab up. Heads (sic) off in town now. Off on a move. Big cash.”

CCTV footage showed the five men arriving in St Nicholas Street at about 1.45am, about 20 minutes before the stabbing in the gardens outside Scarborough Town Hall on October 20 2019.

“What we say is that the evidence strongly supports the conclusion that at least three of the defendants were armed with knives when they left the party,” said Mr Khan.

“We know that approximately 20 minutes after they set off, Solomon Robinson had been stabbed by one of the group and he lay dying in the road. The question arises: was this a random attack by one individual acting alone or was this a group attack as the Crown say it was?”

Mr Khan showed CCTV footage of Watkinson putting on a blue latex glove at the entrance to the town-hall car park moments before the attack.

“Was he getting ready for something he knew was going to happen some time afterwards?” said Mr Khan.

Mr Robinson, 26, who had been out drinking with friends and appeared to be wearing a grey hooded top, began walking towards the town hall where the five men were stood next to the entrance. He was slightly ahead of his two friends, including a young woman who was named in court.

As they approached, the gang “move forward and towards the gardens of the town hall”. As Mr Robinson turned into the park, near the statue of Queen Victoria, he was followed by Selvage who was riding a bike.

Mr Khan said Mr Robinson had essentially been ambushed by the gang who had been lying in wait.

“Mr Robinson was essentially blocked in, with four (of the suspects) in front of him and one behind,” he added.

“The attack happens almost immediately.”

Selvage plunged a knife into Mr Robinson’s back after jumping off his bike, but Mr Khan claimed it was a “group attack”. The incident lasted barely 12 seconds.

“We see (from the CCTV footage) Mr Selvage come in behind Mr Robinson and dismounting from his bicycle (and) the bicycle freewheeling from right to left before Mr Selvage goes to retrieve it,” said Mr Khan.

“We can see Stefan Selvage with the horizontal outline of the knife.”

Mr Khan said “another figure” could be seen holding a “long blade” thought to be a machete.

“That figure goes after Mr Robinson as Mr Robinson retreats,” added the QC.

“We can see the glint of a weapon and the outline of a third short knife in the hand of another of the figures.”

“There were at least three knives being brandished by three defendants. This proves that this wasn’t an act by Stefan Selvage alone but a group attack and proves the evidence of (two named witnesses).”

One witness gave a description of one of the knife-wielding men matching Goral’s description.

Mr Robinson staggered back to the park entrance but collapsed on the pavement in a pool of blood as the attackers ran off, “because they knew their work had been done”.

Mr Robinson’s friends and others rushed to his aid and an ambulance was called.

Paramedics tried to stem the “heavy” bleeding and he was taken to hospital where surgeons fought in vain to save his life. Mr Robinson was pronounced dead at about 5am. The cause of death was “catastrophic bleeding” from a single, 11-inch-deep knife wound to the lower back which had severed a major artery.

The five suspects were soon identified from CCTV footage. Police found Watkinson in Longwestgate about three hours after the attack. They seized a finger knife from him.

Watkinson was with two other men, including Selvage who was also arrested. Goral handed himself in later that day, telling police: “This is all a big misunderstanding.”

He stayed tight-lipped in police interview but handed them a prepared statement denying any responsibility, although he did say he saw someone with a “blood-stained machete” and saw Selvage get off his bike and stab Mr Robinson in the back.

Brass and Low were arrested the same day when they handed themselves in to Scarborough Police. Low told police that “Solomon was my friend” and both denied any responsibility for the attack.

However, Low told police that drugs were taken at the house party, along with whisky and beer.

Mr Khan said police later found two knives at the flat on North Marine Road, including a machete.

Another “machete-type” knife was discovered among rubbish tipped on a derelict site in Scarborough, where police found clues which suggested that it belonged to Brass. The knife was found inside a plastic shopping bag wrapped in “some sort of sheath”.

Mr Khan said the suspects’ denials to police were “bare-faced lies”, adding that all the evidence pointed “overwhelmingly” to a “joint plan from start to finish” to do serious harm to Mr Robinson “and that’s why we say these (five defendants) are jointly responsible for the murder of Mr Robinson”.

He said Low’s claims that he had “absolutely nothing to do with the attack” had been debunked by mobile-phone evidence showing that he had “brought up Facebook images of Mr Robinson, ostensibly so the other suspects “knew what the target looked like ahead of the planned confrontation”.

“We say the plan was formed at the flat on North Marine Road,” added Mr Khan.

Brass, of Eastborough, Goral, of Durham Street, Low, of Longwestgate and Watkinson, of Endcliff Crescent, all deny murder.

Selvage, 18, of Colescliffe Road, pleaded guilty on the day before trial.

The trial continues.