Man ‘lashed out’ at stab victim

South Yorkshire Police supplied picture of murder victim Mubarak Ali.   October4, 2011
South Yorkshire Police supplied picture of murder victim Mubarak Ali. October4, 2011

A MURDER trial jury has been shown dramatic CCTV footage of the moment a man was allegedly stabbed in the chest just yards from a children’s playground.

Jurors were told the images showed James Knowles, aged 22, launching ‘fatal strikes’ on 23-year-old Mubarak Ali during a struggle near Mount Pleasant Park, Highfield.

He is accused of murdering Mr Ali shortly after he was attacked by a group of Somali men - including the victim - as he sat in a chair at Swarv barber’s shop on Abbeydale Road last September.

Knowles, of Deer Park Road, Stannington, denies murder and claims he was acting in self-defence.

But Paul Watson QC, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court the footage showed ‘beyond doubt’ that Knowles was not acting defensively.

The CCTV images showed Mr Ali and Knowles walking diagonally across Mount Pleasant Road, in conversation with one another.

Mr Watson said Mr Ali could be seen ‘gesticulating’ to Knowles with both arms outstretched, before the pair went out of the camera’s range.

Moments later the pair appeared on the footage again, Knowles apparently aiming three quick strikes to Mr Ali’s chest and torso.

“You can see quite clearly the knife in Mr Knowles’ right hand,” Mr Watson said.

In interview after his arrest, Knowles said he thought Mr Ali was trying to kill him, and that he was holding a knife.

“He said he grabbed the knife and lashed out. The prosecution say the footage shows a very different picture,” Mr Watson said.

“It was Mr Ali who was backing off and Knowles who was holding him with one hand and stabbing him with the other.”

Erol Underwood, the owner of Swarv, told jurors he was cutting Knowles’ hair at around 12.30pm when a group of ‘three or four’ people entered the shop.

“I heard a commotion and as I turned round they were all attacking him - punching, kicking.

“He was trying to defend himself. He got out of his chair and ran to the back of the shop and they attacked him up there, too.

“He said he just wanted to finish his trim and would talk to them outside.”

Mr Underwood said the incident lasted for around 45 minutes, and that one of the group told him: ‘You don’t know what he’s done.’

Jurors previously heard that Mr Ali, of Headford Grove, Broomhall, suffered deep knife wounds and collapsed around 100 metres away from the scene of the stabbing.

Knowles was arrested in Birmingham a week after the killing.

The trial continues.