Rapper cleared of disorder charge related to brawl which saw his friend stabbed
A rap star has been cleared of engaging in violent disorder during a mass brawl which saw his friend fatally stabbed but has been convicted of possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon.
Coventry-based Pa Salieu, who had already admitted a second count of violent disorder relating to an attack on a man shortly after the brawl, will now face sentence on a date yet to be fixed.
The 24-year-old told his trial at Warwick Crown Court he had used the bottle to defend himself after “sipping” brandy and Jagermeister – and had chased a man across Coventry’s ring road to disarm him, believing he had a knife.
Prosecutors had alleged Salieu was guilty of violent disorder when he joined a group that chased and cornered Ikemefuna Okosisi-Ezeanyika during a disturbance in Hertford Place and Junction Street, Coventry, which led to the death of Fidel Glasgow.
The court was told Salieu and three other defendants were not charged with any offence arising from the death of the 21-year-old – the grandson of Specials singer Neville Staple – in 2018.
Salieu, of Hillfields, stood trial alongside 25-year-olds Michael Mistouflet, Meidel Dange and Adil Naseer, who also denied taking part in violent disorder during which Mr Glasgow was fatally injured.
Jurors cleared Dange, of Henley Green, and Naseer, of Foleshill, both Coventry, of violent disorder but convicted Mistouflet, who was also found guilty of possessing a belt as an offensive weapon.
Salieu, the winner of the BBC’s Sound Of 2021 award, Mistouflet, from Binley, and Naseer had all admitted a separate charge relating to violent disorder which occurred after Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika escaped across Coventry’s ring road and made his way into Queen Victoria Road.
Salieu, Mistouflet and Naseer will be sentenced alongside six other defendants aged between 21 and 29 who admitted a variety of charges including violent disorder at previous hearings.
Addressing the jury from the witness box, Salieu was taken through frame-by-frame CCTV footage showing Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika being chased at about 5am on September 1 2018, as around 300 people left Club M following a performance by Nigerian-born singer Mr Eazi.
Appearing in court under his full name of Pa Salieu Gaye, the rapper 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”, Salieu added: “At this point I believed he had a knife.
“My intention for hitting that bottle (on the ground) was to warn him off.
“At this point I thought he had been given something – I was just thinking the worst.”
Answering questions from his barrister, Jonathan Woodcock, Salieu claimed he and a large number of others had chased Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika to disarm him after someone said: “He’s got a shank.”
“I just followed to disarm him. That’s what I believed,” Salieu said.
The court heard the bottle was taken from Salieu by security staff before the chase, which was caught on CCTV as it headed towards Coventry’s inner ring road.
Salieu said he had bent down to pick up a second bottle and was unaware that Mr Glasgow had been stabbed until after the incident.
The court heard Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika, who later underwent successful emergency surgery for a stab wound to his abdomen, was “bottled” in Queen Victoria Road.
During his evidence Salieu claimed he had tried to stop someone else striking Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika with a bottle, but conceded he had hit him with a stick before noticing he was not armed with a weapon.
Detective Inspector Michelle Allen said: “We are still actively investigating Fidel’s murder and we remain in contact with his family to keep them fully updated with developments.
“Although these convictions are not in relation to the attack on Fidel, it is our dearest wish to hold someone to account for his death and we will follow any new leads.
“We continue to ask anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to come forward.”