independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Murder victim Toyosi (15) believed one man was racist before fight broke out

A FRIEND of a 15-year-old Nigerian boy, who was stabbed through the heart with a knife, following a row with racial undertones, has told a trial the dead boy had told him one of the two men they rowed with was a "racist" as he thought he knew him from his football club.

Bobby Kuti (18) told prosecuting counsel Mr Brendan Grehan, SC, that when one of the girls in the group of five white girls and four black boys he was with asked Paul Barry, now deceased, for a cigarette light outside Mr Barry's house, he made the comment “I think even if he did have a lighter he wouldn't have given it to us anyway.” He claimed neither Paul nor Michael Barry heard him.



It was day two of the trial of Michael Barry (26) of Pigeon House Road, Ringsend in Dublin 4 who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Nigerian teenager Toyosi Shittabey (15) on April 2, 2010 at The Boulevard, Mount Eustace in Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15.



Mr Barry has also pleaded not guilty of producing a baseball bat in the course of a dispute. It is the prosecution's case that Michael's brother Paul, who is now deceased, inflicted the stab wound on Toyosi but that Michael was an accessory to the murder.



Bobby told counsel he and his friends kept walking and heard one of the two men shouting at them “ya bunch of niggers,” and claimed Paul Barry, the smaller of the two men, asked him “What are ye looking at ye niggers?”



“Paul Barry kept saying niggers and walking towards us. The taller guy had a smirk on his face and we squared up against them,” said Bobby.



He admitted he threw the first punch at Paul Barry as he thought Paul was going to hit him.



“I ran, he tried to follow me and he slipped and fell on the ground and we all laughed at him,” said Bobby.



He said a fight broke out between him, his four male black friends and Michael and Paul and that he and his friends were “swinging” at the two Barry brothers.



He said a woman came out of Paul Barry's house when the fighting was taking place and she released a dog and one of the men asked her go get a baseball bat, after which when it was produced, he and his friends ran away.



Bobby claimed Toyosi picked up a black mobile phone and had told him it was “one of the girls' phones.”



He said they all came to a roundabout at The Boulevard and some of them became separated. He said he saw a black jeep coming to an abrupt stop at the roundabout and he ran away. Several minutes later he returned to the area and saw Toyosi on the ground and gardai around him.



“I told him he was my cousin so I could get nearer him and I saw a lot of blood around him,” said Bobby.



Bobby agreed with defence counsel Patrick Gagsby, SC, that Toyosi told him Paul Barry was a racist before one of the girls asked him for a cigarette lighter. He agreed he would have thought a lot less of Paul Barry when he found this out.



Mr Gagsby put it to Bobby that he believed he and his friends had been snubbed by a man who Toyosi had believed had been racist to him and his younger brother before and that he and his friends decided to pick a fight with Paul and his brother Michael.



Mr Gagsby told Bobby that Paul Barry had "nothing to do with a football club" and that calling him racist was "all a mistake by Toyosi."



He put it to Bobby that he “became wound up” after the snub and made it worse by passing “a smart comment” because he thought he was dealing with a racist.



Bobby denied his group started the abuse and replied “We didn't pick a fight.”



“We believed he was a racist but that doesn't mean we called names first,” said Bobby but agreed that he and his friends “did something wrong because we were fighting with the men.”



The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of seven men and five women.

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