Rapper Pa Salieu ‘picked up bottle to defend himself’


    Award-winning rapper Pa Salieu has told a court he smashed and brandished a bottle to defend himself during a brawl, which saw his best friend stabbed to death.

    He is accused of joining a group that chased and cornered a man during violence in Coventry in 2018.

    The 24-year-old and co-defendants Michael Mistouflet, Meidel Dange and Adil Naseer all deny violent disorder.

    During the wider violence, Fidel Glasgow was fatally stabbed.

    However, Warwick Crown Court heard the charges facing the defendants did not arise from the death of the 21-year-old – a close friend of Pa Salieu and grandson of Specials singer Neville Staple.

    The rapper, who appeared under his full name Pa Salieu Gaye, along with Mr Mistouflet and Mr Naseer have admitted a separate charge relating to violent disorder later in the day.

    CCTV footage

    Mr Gaye told his trial he had been sipping brandy and Jagermeister on 1 September 2018 and had chased Ikemefuna Okosisi-Ezeanyika to disarm him, believing he had a knife.

    The rapper, winner of the BBC Sound of 2021, was taken through CCTV footage showing Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika being chased as about 300 people left Club M following a performance by singer Mr Eazi.

    Fidel Glasgow
    Image caption,Fidel Glasgow died in Coventry city centre in 2018, the court heard

    He said of Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika: “I just saw him walking back. At this point everyone is shouting.”

    Claiming he heard Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika say “I have got something for you, you think you are bad”, the musician added: “At this point I believed he had a knife.

    “My intention for hitting that bottle [on the ground] was to warn him off.”

    The court heard the bottle was taken from Mr Gaye by security staff before the chase.

    Explaining his decision to pick up a second bottle, the rapper continued: “I had nothing to defend myself with, at this point I still think he had a knife.

    “I just threw the bottle towards his direction.”

    Pa Salieu outside Warwick Crown Court
    Image caption,Pa Salieu is on trial at Warwick Crown Court

    The court heard Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika, who later underwent emergency surgery for a stab wound, was “bottled” in Queen Victoria Road.

    All four defendants deny violent disorder in Junction Street and Hertford Place, during which Mr Glasgow was fatally injured.

    Mr Gaye also denies possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon in the same streets, while Nr Mistouflet denies possessing a belt as an offensive weapon.

    However, jurors were told Mr Gaye, Mr Mistouflet and Mr Naseer had admitted a separate charge relating to violent disorder which occurred after Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika made his way into Queen Victoria Road.

    Mr Gaye told the court he had struck Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika with a stick, before noticing he was not armed with a weapon.

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