The trial of five men accused of the murder of Steven Willis resumes on Monday and is due to last for five weeks.

Mr Willis died after an incident in Normanby on April 16.

Dominic Pickering, Mark Pickering, Jack Cross, Kieran Ibitson and Jahmal Weaver all deny the murder and manslaughter of the 27-year-old on April 16.

A Teesside Crown Court jury is hearing evidence on the people involved in the case.

Here is a break down on the key people involved:

STEVEN WILLIS

Steven Willis
Steven Willis

Steven Willis, 27, also known as Steven Pickering, was killed in a street fight described by the prosecution as a “violent showdown” in Meadowcroft Road, Normanby at about 10.20pm on the night of April 16.

The Crown says he was stabbed to the heart “with considerable force”, collapsed in the street and died within minutes from his “devastating injury”.

The prosecution says he went to the aid of his father John Pickering who was stabbed during the violence, and Mr Willis fetched a samurai sword before he was disarmed.

DEFENDANTS

All five men on trial deny the murder and manslaughter of Steven Willis and wounding his half-brother Lennon Pickering with intent to cause serious harm.

The Crown says they were in it together and they went for violence which resulted in Mr Willis’ death, making them guilty of manslaughter at least.

Kieran Ibitson

The prosecution says he was the knifeman who stabbed his uncle, John Pickering, 45, and his two cousins, Lennon Pickering, then 17, and Steven Willis, fatally wounding the latter.

He has admitted wounding John Pickering with intent to cause serious harm.

It is alleged he was “incensed” over a physical confrontation between his mother Susan Ibitson and her brother John Pickering earlier that night.

The siblings had been at a wake at the Teesside Bridge Social Club in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough.

The Crown says Ibitson wanted to “settle the score” with his powerfully built nephew and went with a team to his home, armed with a “vicious-looking” knife.

Lennon Pickering said Ibitson told them “if you try to hurt my mam youse are all dead” or “you’ve hurt my mam, youse have had it” when they arrived.

Skippers Lane, Normanby
Skippers Lane, Normanby (Image: Evening Gazette)

Ibitson is accused of first stabbing John Pickering’s torso from behind, then Lennon Pickering to the back, then driving the knife through Steven Willis’ breastbone into his heart, killing him.

He does not accept responsibility for the stabbing of Steven Willis, the jury heard.

According to the prosecution, he says he does not know whether he stabbed Mr Willis or not, suggesting it might have been someone else with another weapon.

Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said if it were proved Ibitson did stab Mr Willis, he would maintain he acted in lawful self-defence.

The other four, says the prosecution, supported or encouraged Ibitson in the “team” as fighters, back-up, transport or strength in numbers.

They deny they went to the house for violence and dispute that they are responsible for Ibitson’s actions, jurors heard.

Mark Pickering

He fought with John Pickering at the wake in one of two “relatively trivial” clashes which the prosecution says were the catalyst for serious violence and murder.

Each man says the other lunged at him inside the club.

They called and texted each other, John saying in messages: “Me and you now, let’s go… come on big boy”.

When the group got to the house, it was said he exchanged a couple of blows with John Pickering, who was then stabbed by Kieran Ibitson.

Skippers Lane, Normanby
Skippers Lane, Normanby (Image: Katie Lunn)

John and Lennon Pickering said they saw Mark Pickering wrestling with Steven Willis in a “tug of war” over the sword.

Mark Pickering told police his uncle John was “acting like a lunatic” at the wake.

He said he felt he had no choice but to go and see him after John Pickering threatened to come to his family home.

He said Steven Willis only came out with the samurai sword in response to the stabbing of John Pickering, to stick up for his dad.

His barrister Sam Green QC said he got out of the car at the start shouting: “What’s going on, John George?”

John Pickering said he did not remember this.

Dominic Pickering

He is accused of being part of the “team” which went to the house, along with his brother Mark.

It is alleged he and another man “searched” the Jovial Monk pub for Steven Willis earlier that night.

John Pickering claimed Dominic got out of the car first at his home, clapped his hands and said: “Wait and see what we’ve got for you here.”

Dominic’s barrister Bryan Cox QC suggested this comment was an “invention” to implicate Dominic and others.

He told police he fought with Lennon Pickering and he and Mark Pickering wrestled the sword from Steven Willis.

Jahmal Weaver & Jack Cross

The prosecution says they played a lesser role in the fighting but did not withdraw from the group and left with the others.

The court heard Cross’s silver Ford Fiesta was used to drive the men to and from John Pickering’s house, and Weaver was picked up en route.

The Crown says Weaver was the “back-up” and he drove them away leaving the “scene of devastation”.

Weaver told police he thought he was recruited to go to a one-on-one fight.

Mr Wright said Cross moved away from the main violence but did not withdraw altogether, was picked up by his friends up the road afterwards and disposed of the sword on waste ground.

Cross told police he did not anticipate violence and got out of the car to break up the brawl.

Lennon Pickering said he thought it was Cross who stayed in the car and was “not the type to get out of the car and start hurting people”.

Skippers Lane, Normanby
Skippers Lane, Normanby (Image: Katie Lunn)

WITNESSES

John Pickering

The first witness to give evidence, he said his nephew Mark Pickering ran at him and they came to blows at the wake.

He said he suggested a “straightener” at his home later, which he expected to be a one-on-one Queensberry rules unarmed fistfight to settle their differences.

“A bit of a scrap, a bit of a punch-up then shake hands, forget about it. Fisticuffs,” he told the court.

He also clashed with his sister Susan Ibitson, Kieran Ibitson’s mother, as the Crown said a “triangle of tension” led to trouble at the wake.

He said he did not think “in a million years” that weapons would be used in the fight that night.

He said he told his son Steven Willis to put the ornamental samurai sword back as “we don’t need any weapons, we do it with our fists”.

He said the men arrived with screeching, revving and skidding, “like something from Starsky & Hutch”. He took his top off and went outside.

He and Mark Pickering squared up and exchanged blows, he felt a “body shot” to his side and realised he had been stabbed.

He drifted in and out of consciousness as he went back inside. He heard a “frenzy of noise” and saw a “tug of war” over the sword.

He said he saw his son Steven and tried to help him when he collapsed in the street.

Defence barristers accused him of inventing things to implicate the accused men. He denied this.

Lennon Pickering

The jury has seen the police video interview with Steven Willis’ half-brother Lennon Pickering, who was 17 at the time.

He said he and Steven were trying to “stick up for my dad” John Pickering.

He said Kieran Ibitson pulled a knife out of a “manbag” and he kicked Ibitson to get him away from his father.

“I thought if anyone’s going to get stabbed I didn’t want it to be my dad,” he told officers.

“I’d rather it be me.”

He said he took punches from Dominic Pickering and was stabbed in the back during the melee, he fell to his knees and leaned against a wall and lamppost, unable to move.

He heard his father screaming and thought he had been killed.

He saw Steven on the floor but did not see how he was injured.

He said Mark Pickering had attacked Steven Willis and wrestled with him over the sword, and he assumed Mark Pickering had stabbed him.

© 2018 Tees Info

or

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

or

Create Account