Murder accused told prison inmate he killed Sheffield man over £10k compensation row, court hears

A member of a group accused of murdering a Sheffield man in a drive-by shooting told a fellow prison inmate he had done it over a row with the victim's brother and the £10,000 he paid him for slashing his face, a court heard.

Friday, 23rd February 2018, 10:25 am
Updated Friday, 23rd February 2018, 10:30 am
Aseel Al-Essaie was shot dead on Daniel Hill, Upperthorpe last year

Aseel Al-Essaie was fatally shot at point blank range as he sat in a Mercedes vehicle parked in Daniel Hill, Upperthorpe just after 1.30pm on February 18 last year.

Opening the case at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday, David Brooke QC, prosecuting, said it is the Crown's case that Matthew Cohen, 29, Dale Gordon, 33 and Keil Bryan, 32, of Brackley Street, Pitsmoor murdered Mr Al-Essaie when they shot him once from a VW Golf, as part of a 'joint enterprise'.

The scene in Upperthorpe, following Mr Al-Essaie's murder in February last year

Cohen and Gordon were remanded into custody at HMP Doncaster in May last year, after being charged with Mr Al-Essaie's murder.

Mr Brooke told the court that a fellow prisoner provided a statement to the police, in which he said Cohen, of Bramwell Close, Netherthorpe had spoken to him about the murder in a few conversations they had.

He said: "Heexplained that Cohen had told him that it [the murder] was to do with Aseel's brother, Saleh. Cohen said he slashed Saleh's face prior to the murder. He believed it was over money and Cohen mentioned £10,000 that he'd given to Saleh."

Mr Brooke said Mr Al-Essaie's cousin, Moad Al-Esayi, corroborated the prisoner’s account.

The scene in Upperthorpe, following Mr Al-Essaie's murder in February last year

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"Two to three months before his death, Assel told him that some days beforehand, his brother Saleh had his face cut by Matthew Cohen during an argument. In other words, Aseel knew about it and was angry about it. A couple of weeks later, Moad had a further conversation with Aseel in which Cohen said he was going to pay Saleh £10,000 in compensation," Mr Brooke told jurors.

He added: "So do you see that it seems that the background motive may have been to do with the reaction of Aseel to the incident that had taken place between Cohen and his brother, Saleh. Not only that, but it also provides evidence to support the inmate’s account as to what he was being told by Cohen."

He told police that Gordon, of Mather Road, Darnall, had also implicated himself in Mr Al-Essaie's murder while in prison, Mr Brooke told the court.

He added: "They had a fight on the wing whereupon Gordon said to him: 'You know what's gonna happen now, don't you? You know what I did to my man. He then gestured at him, and as he said it: 'gi' me the gun fingers'.

"He was clear that it was meant as a reference to the murder of Aseel."

Cohen, Gordon and Bryan are charged of Mr Al-Essaie's murder.

Four other defendants are also standing trial for crimes connected to Mr Al-Essaie’s murder.

James Good, 32, of Velocity Towers, St Mary’s Gate, and Cohen’s mother, Patricia Sharp, 58, of Bramwell Close, Netherthorpe, are both charged with perverting the course of justice.

Brothers Razwan Mirza, 35, and Mohammed Mirza, 30, of Staniforth Road, Darnall, are charged with assisting an offender.

Cohen is also charged with perverting the course of justice. The defendants deny all charges.

The trial continues.