Sports agent accused of teen murder claims he launched anti-knife campaign with Tony Blair
- Credit: Archant
Christopher Nathaniel is charged alongside Kevin Richards, from Neasden, and eight other men with the murder of Danny O’Shea
A sports agent accused of being part of a gang who stabbed and beat a teenager to death told a court today that he once helped Tony Blair launch an anti-knife crime campaign.
Christopher Nathaniel, 40, is accused of enlisting Kevin Richards, 32, of North Circular Road, Neasden, to recruit a mob to carry out a revenge attack after his business partner was robbed of his phone.
The Old Bailey heard Danny O’Shea, 18, was innocently killed during the attack which took place in Canning Town, east London, on December 2, 2011.
Giving evidence, Nathaniel said he travelled to Manchester when Mr Blair was prime minister to help launch the campaign.
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He told the court after the launch Mr Blair asked to meet him again to find out about his work with gangs.
Nathaniel said the Government got involved with the campaign in London and “then Manchester with Tony Blair to launch it there”.
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He added that Mr Blair had shown an interest in what he was doing in the community, adding: “He said he would like to meet us and see what we were doing to help young people.”
Nathaniel also told the court that his firm, NVA, tried to give an impression of a big firm with an impressive website and by offering telephone callers different department extensions.
In reality, he said, it was run from two rooms in Canary Wharf, east London, and the firm’s four staff were all on freelance contractor deals. There were also 20 or so talent scouts on the books.
“It gives the impression you are a big outfit, which is what you want when you are competing with the big boys,” he added.
Nathaniel, his business partner Paul Boadi, 34, Richards, and seven other men are accused of killing Mr O’Shea.
The teenager died after being beaten with baseball bats and stabbed in the throat yards from his mother’s home, the trial has heard
Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, previously said the defendants travelled to the area to “exact revenge” after Boadi’s mobile phone was stolen a week earlier.
Eight of the men hired a minibus to travel to Canning Town on the evening of the killing, while Boadi and Nathaniel travelled in taxis, the court heard.
They spent more than two hours searching the area before they came across a group of young men, including Mr O’Shea, who they believed had robbed Boadi and gave chase, Mr Heywood said.
Some of the men caught Mr O’Shea and began beating him before one of the defendants stabbed him in the neck, the court heard.
The defendants fled as the teenager attempted to return home but he died at the scene, Mr Heywood said.
A Twitter message was allegedly published shortly after Mr O’Shea’s death, which read: “The element of surprise, such a beautiful thing.”
All of the accused deny murder and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
The defendants are Richards, Nathaniel and Boadi, both of Docklands, east London; David Hylton, 47, from Holborn, central London; Andrew Johnson, 35, Paul Johnson, 33, and O’Neil Wareham, 30, all from Harrow, Ferron Perue, 24, from Birmingham; Nugent Rowe, 29, from Pinner; and Scott Marius, 44, from Maida Vale.
The trial continues.