Beds, Herts & Bucks

Azaan Kaleem trial: Four guilty over teen's fatal stabbing

Azaan Kaleem Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Prosecutors said Azaan Kaleem was attacked after a disagreement

Four men have been found guilty of killing an 18-year-old as he walked down a street with his girlfriend.

The Old Bailey heard Azaan Kaleem died in hospital after being stabbed in Luton following a disagreement.

Two men aged 18 and 19, who cannot be named, and Harrison Searle, 18, have been convicted of murder.

Reece Bliss-McGrath, 20, was found guilty of manslaughter and Ross Noon, 18, was cleared on all counts. The four men will be sentenced next month.

All five had denied murder and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.

Prosecutors told the trial Azaan was attacked after "a beef" - slang for a disagreement.

Image copyright Roseann Taylor
Image caption Azaan Kaleem died in hospital after being stabbed in Luton

His girlfriend Shannon Martin told the court they were confronted by a man on a bike and Azaan had put his right hand in his jacket to reach for a knife she believed he was carrying.

Minutes later he was stabbed in Hartsfield Road at about 17:20 GMT on 22 March. He died two days later at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

Two people armed with knives jumped out from a BMW, and an 18-year-old - who cannot be named for legal reasons - confronted Azaan, Ms Martin said.

Jurors heard he said something about "pulling a knife out on his boy," which Ms Martin believed was a reference to the confrontation minutes earlier.

Ms Martin told the court she saw the man stab Azaan through his padded coat, and also saw Mr Searle make a stabbing motion towards Azaan's body.

Searle, of Derwent Road, Luton; Bliss-McGrath, of Exton Avenue, Luton, and the other two men, are due to be sentenced on 17 December.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Azaan Kaleem was fatally wounded in Hartsfield Road

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