Words by Ed King
The jury for the Dea John Reid murder case are preparing to consider their verdict, as summing up for the defence councils on the high profile murder case finished this week.
Being heard at Birmingham Crown Court, on Monday, 28 March the twelve strong jury will decide, as a group, whether George Khan (39, Kingstanding), Michael Shields (36, Castle Bromwich), and the three minors accused of murder are guilty or innocent. All five have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On 31 May 2021, the 14 year old Dea John Reid was fatally stabbed on College Road in KIngstanding – dying at the scene, following a single blow to the chest.
After a swift but thorough police investigation, where officers trawled through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage an interviewed many witnesses, two men and three minors were arrested and charged with the murder of the schoolboy.
The Crown Prosecution Service claim all five had ‘joint participation’ in the deadly attack, despite only one of the minors delivering the fatal blow.
Opening the case for the prosecution on Wednesday, 23 February 2022, Richard Wormald QC described the deadly chase and assault as a “hunt” and “revenge attack”.
The court then heard how the three minors, along with another friend, had been “mugged” by Dea John and other boys in his company earlier that day, leading to a retaliation attack that left the 14 year old fatally stabbed.
During their summing up statements, councils for the defence were keen to remind the jury of the fact the three minors had felt threatened from earlier incidents, including an initial altercation where members of Dea John’s group had tried to rob an Armani ‘man pouch’ from one of the teenagers accused.
Defending the child who had admited stabbed Dea John Reid, although claiming it was in self defence, Mr Clarke QC highlighted a piece of CCTV footage where he asserted you could see “a look of terror on his face” – arguing the final assault was a result of “continued threat… an action that has to be seen in the context of what happened before.”
But the twist of the case came from the alleged involvement of Michael Shields, who despite being charged with murder along with the other accused is claiming to be an unwilling bystander in an event he had no idea would end in serious assault, let alone murder.
The court had previously heard how the two adults accused of murder, George Khan and Michael Shields, had been drinking in The Digby pub on Chester Road before becoming embroiled in the search for Dea John and his friends.
Michael Shields’s defence council claimed he was only in George Khan’s VW Golf, the vehicle used by all five accused of murder to find Dea John and his friends, because he had no money to get home on his own.
Following the subsequent chase and attack, which left the 14 year old Dea John Reid bleeding to death outside the Costcutter on College Road, Michael Shields further claimed he was only aware there had been a stabbing after overhearing a phone call in the car whilst leaving the murder scene – at which point he asked the driver, George Khan, to pull over so he could walk home.
The prosecution does not dispute the fact Michael Shields left the car.
Furthermore, Michael Shields claimed he was threatened by Hollie Davis, who is the ex-partner of George Khan, not to go to the police – extending her threats to Shields’s ex-partner.
Hollie Davis admits she was “horrible to him (Shields)” during a series of phone calls made after the attack.
After hearing a list of positive character references, from men and women of different cultures and backgrounds, the defence council for Michael Shields’s reminded the jury how his client handed himself into the police the day following the attack, as he thought it was “the right thing to do’.
The defence for Shields further stated: “He’s gone from being a perfectly decent, hardworking individual to being on trial for murder, just like that.”
Amongst his final words, Michael Shields’s barrister asked the jury to consider if they believed his client was capable of the “calculated” murder of a child – adding: “This man, Michael Shields, is not a killer.”
All accused will be back in Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, 28 March for the final part of the judge’s summing up – before retiring to deliver their final verdict.
All five accused of murder deny the charges. Hollie Davis further denies the charge of assisting an offender.