Teen ‘stabbed 19-year-old in chest in self-defence’, court hears

A stabbed teenager died in the street as neighbours, police officers and paramedics desperately tried to save his life, a court has heard.

Hassan Jama, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene in Cedar Road, Highfields, Leicester in the early hours of July 18 last year.

Ishaq Hassanjee, 18, is accused of murdering the 19-year-old with a single knife strike which ‘pierced his heart’.

Leicester Crown Court heard how Hassanjee acted in self-defence, using a knife he had been carrying concealed in his trousers, after Mr Jama threatened him and his brother with a blade of his own.

Opening the prosecution case yesterday (January 12), Michael Duck QC said Hassanjee assaulted Mr Jama in Bartholomew Street following an argument.

The injured teenager ran the short distance to neighbouring Cedar Road, where he collapsed.

Mr Duck told the court: “There were very significant efforts made at the scene to save this young man.

“Those efforts were initially made by people who lived in the immediate area, they were made by police officers who arrived at the scene and they were made by paramedics and then a doctor.

“Those efforts were ultimately futile.

“The reason for this was straightforward. Mr Jama had been stabbed through the chest by this defendant.

“Tragically in passing through the upper area of the chest it cut through vital organs and ultimately pierced the heart.

“The blood loss was such that those attempts at the roadside were futile and he died shortly after the infliction of that injury.

“It will be an agreed fact in this case that Mr Hassanjee accepts he was in possession of a knife in the early hours of Saturday, July 18, and has acknowledged that by pleading guilty to a charge which reflects that.

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“Part of the background of this case – and tragically many others – is the possession of knives and their use.

“There appears to be a belief by some young people that carrying knives is acceptable, whether as a fashion item or as a show of strength.

“There is always a risk of someone being prepared to use them at the drop of a hat.”

Mr Duck said the defendant and the deceased both lived with their families in Bartholomew Street.

“It appears they were known to each other,” he said.

“It is equally clear it was quite common in this area for groups of youths to congregate and it is quite plain there were tensions between members of those particular groups.”

Earlier, the defendant had reportedly been injured in an incident which had resulted in him being injured and going to Leicester Royal Infirmary, (LRI), for treatment.

Police at the scene of the incident in Cedar Road
(Image: Ciaran Fagan)

No details of that incident were given in court, but Mr Jama had not been involved, Mr Duck said.

He said: “Mr Hassanjee came away from the LRI having received treatment and went back to the area of Bartholomew Street and remained out in the street rather than go into his home.”

He later told police he was waiting for his brother to come back with the house keys as he did not want to disturb his mother.

“What we know is that immediately before the infliction of the fatal injury, Mr Jama came out of his house and walked toward where the defendant and his brother were standing and there was an argument between them,” Mr Duck said.

“The prosecution say that during that argument Ishaq Hassanjee took the knife and struck a blow and that blow struck Mr Jama in the chest.

“We say there was no lawful reason for doing that.

“He had a choice that night. Faced with, as he asserts, the drawing of a weapon, Mr Hassanjee had the option of getting out of the way, to run.

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“He drew his weapon and used it instantly.”

Hassanjee was arrested shortly after Leicestershire Police arrived at the scene, Mr Duck said.

Officers, who had reportedly become suspicious of him because of the visible injury from the earlier incident, later found the knife which he had allegedly used to stab Mr Jama hidden in a shed nearby.

A second knife was found near the spot where Mr Jama was lying, the court heard.

Mr Duck said: “There was another knife recovered within feet of Mr Jama. It may well be that he was in possession of a knife.”

In police interviews, Hassanjee said he had stabbed Mr Jama because he feared he was about to attack him or his brother, Mr Duck said.

The court heard how emergency services battled to save the teenager’s life
(Image: LeicestershireLive)

The first prosecution witness was a resident who came to his front door when he heard a loud argument in the street.

The man said he saw Hassanjee deliver what he initially thought was a punch to Mr Jama’s chest.

However as the injured teenager lifted up his top, he saw he was bleeding heavily, he told the court.

Hassanjee’s legal representative, Leonard Smith QC, questioned the witness’s evidence that Mr Jama had not acted aggressively or struck the defendant.

The witness also said he had not seen Mr Jama carrying a knife of his own.

Mr Smith said Hassanjee had acted in self-defence after Mr Jama moved suddenly toward him and his brother with a knife in his hand.

He said: “The victim lunged toward the defendant with a knife. He threatens him ‘if I catch you, you are a dead man walking’ and strikes out.

“He (Hassanjee) did not say anything. He did not have time. He stabbed Mr Jama because he was under attack.”

The trial continues.

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