Essex

Girl, nine, tells court of chef attack in Essex

A nine-year-old girl has described how she witnessed the events which led to the fatal stabbing of a French chef after a classical music concert.

Karl Wills, 22, of Cranley Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, denies murdering Reynald Duchene, 37, in Priory Park, Southend, on 26 June.

The girl told Chelmsford Crown Court she saw a "little man" and a "big man" arguing.

Mr Wills is 5ft 8in (1.76m) and Mr Duchene was 6ft 3in (1.90m).

The youngster, who cannot be identified, said the "little man" used "gangster" talk before "pushing" the "big man" against railings.

The "big man" had "chased" the "little man" and was saying "come here", said the girl, who had also watched the concert and was on her way home.

'What's happened, blood?'

Jurors watched a recording of a police interview the girl gave the day after the incident.

Prosecutors have told the court that Mr Duchene, of South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, was stabbed in the heart after leaving the open-air concert with fiancee Paula Haddlesey and friends.

They said Mr Duchene challenged Mr Wills after Ms Haddlesey was "pestered" as she walked to a taxi after leaving the concert.

The girl said: "The little man was running because the big man was chasing him.

"The little man came back and pushed him into the corner of the railings.

"The tall man was walking really fast behind him. They were, like, swearing."

"The little man was like, 'what's happened, blood?"'

When asked by a policewoman about the meaning of "blood", the girl replied: "Gangsters say it."

The victim, who lived with his partner and her children, worked as a chef in London.

The case continues.

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