Murder accused Esam Dawood takes own life in prison

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Barton Street, GloucesterImage source, Google
Image caption,
The court heard Omar Rashid was first stabbed inside Barton Best Foods, and further attacked in the street

A man accused of murder has taken his own life midway through his trial, a court has heard.

Esam Dawood, 27, was accused of fatally stabbing Omar Rashid, 35, in Barton Street, Gloucester, last August.

Judge Martin Picton told jurors at Gloucester Crown Court the defendant had been found dead in prison, where he was being held on remand.

He said there would be a serious incident review into how Mr Dawood came to take his own life in custody.

The defendant was due to represent himself as his trial resumed, having sacked his defence team after two days of evidence.

Victim 'a good man'

The court had heard how Mr Dawood, of Barton Street, had denied murdering Mr Rashid, 35, and inflicting grievous bodily harm on another man, Uche Chikwendu, on 26 August 2019.

It also heard how the knife attack was witnessed by members of the public, and three people rushed to the aid of Mr Rashid and managed to disarm Mr Dawood.

After delivering the news of Mr Dawood's death, Judge Picton praised his lawyers for all they had done before being dismissed.

He said the police investigation of the shocking attack had gone "above and beyond".

The judge also said he had read a victim impact statement from the family of Omar Rashid, who was a "good man", and whose death was a loss to the community.

He also commended the three men who helped disarm Mr Dawood.

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