'Most popular drug dealer' at University of Northampton reveals what happened just before fatal stabbing
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The “most popular drug dealer on campus” at the University of Northampton on trial for the fatal stabbing of a “rival dealer” and fellow student has revealed what happened in the moments prior to the murder.
Nineteen-year-old defendant Ogechi Eke gave evidence in Northampton Crown Court on Friday (November 3) concerning the fatal stabbing of UoN student Kwabena Osei-Poku in New South Bridge Road, Far Cotton, near the University's Waterside Campus on April 23 at 8:50 pm.
Eke, aged 19, of Brimsdown Avenue, Enfield, and Melvin Lebaga-Idubor, aged 19, of Abbey Road, Barking and Dagenham, have both entered pleas of not guilty in response to murder charges and carrying a knife.
The prosecution contends that the fatal incident was instigated by a “drug dealing turf war” which saw a “large amount of cannabis” stolen by Lebaga-Idubor, who was accompanied by Eke, from Alfred before he was fatally stabbed.
The court previously heard how Eke was described as the “most popular drug dealer on campus” and Kwabena also known to sell drugs, with the prosecution claiming they were rivals. Eke says they were friends who “worked together”.
Being cross-examined at court, Eke said it was Kwabena who inflicted the first stabbing on Lebaga-Idubor.
Eke said: "Kwabena told me Melvin wasn't trying to give the cannabis back, so he was going to get it himself. It was kind of out of my hands because I couldn't do anything to persuade him (Lebaga-Idubor) to give the drugs back to Kwabena.
“They started going at each other. It looked like both of their arms were being swung at each other. Kwabena ran towards Melvin with a knife in his hand and stabbed him. Kwabena backed away, and Melvin ran towards him and slipped on the grass. Melvin got up, caught up with Kwabena, and I saw a small object in his (Melvin's) hand. Kwabena and Melvin started hitting each other… and Kwabena snatche the drugs back. I was backing away as I didn’t want to get involved.”
The court was then shown the chilling moment Kwabena was fatally stabbed in the neck. The court heard Kwabena “shouted for help and fell to the floor”, rolling into the road before appearing to become unresponsive as cars drove past slowly.
Eke said: “I was just standing there in shock because it happened so fast. I shouted towards Melvin, ‘why did you do that?’ and he just kept on running (away).”
Asked how he was feeling at the time, Eke said: “I was anxious and shocked. I just saw someone being stabbed; I didn’t know how to react. I was just scared.”
The court previously heard how Melvin fled the country, making his way down to London and then to Paris via the Eurostar before returning to the UK because his planned flights to Nigeria were canceled.
Eke, however, walked back to his student accommodation on Waterside Campus, where he was told to ‘relax and go to his room’ by multiple friends, the court heard.
The court heard how Eke flushed drugs (cannabis) at his flat down the toilets shortly after the stabbing.
Eke said: "I was selling drugs at the time. I had drugs in my room that I previously bought that day. I wanted to go and flush the drugs down the toilet.”
With rumours now starting to spread throughout the University about what happened, Eke messaged a friend explaining his version of events, the court heard.
One text said: "I was trying to defuse. Didn't happen, so that happened.”
Another read: “Something happened with my friend. It was a one versus one (fight). The other yout’ brought a weapon.”
Another read: “He hit my friend, so I came with mine (weapon) and told him to cool off.”
When quizzed about what he meant by 'came with mine', Eke backtracked, saying: “I didn’t have a knife. I said that because I didn’t want to seem scared in that situation. I wanted to seem brave.”
Eke then proceeded to tell the court he was “not a hero”.
He said: “I’m not a hero. I’m not going to get involved when I see people fighting with knives. I would rather get myself out of that situation.
"I did try to defuse the situation by telling Melvin and Alfred to calm down. When knives were brought out, I backed away. When the two left the flat, I was unaware they had knives. I didn’t expect such violence to be used. I was discouraging violence."
The court heard how, after being arrested at the university's library, Eke gave a series of “no comment” answers in police interviews.
Eke said: “I was told I shouldn’t snitch. It made me feel scared. I don’t want any problems.”
Asked about a knife-sharpening stone found in his room that night by police, and why he still had it, Eke said it was given to him at secondary school as part of art classes.
He said: “I was using it for my cooking utensils. I had a whole kitchen set. I took cooking utensils from home to Uni.”
Eke went on to admit he was a drug dealer, dealing a “significant” amount of drugs for a “significant” amount of profit, the court heard.
The trial continues.