NEWS: Shock verdict as all defendants found not guilty of murder in Dea John Reid trial

Words by Ed King

After three days of deliberation, the jury for the Dea John Reid murder trial delivered their verdict at Birmingham Crown Court today – finding all the defendants not guilty of murder and assisting an offender.

One of the minors accused of murder, the teenager that delivered the fatal blow, was found guilty of manslaughter, with sentencing set for 5 May.

With all five defendants accused of murder as a joint enterprise, once one verdict of not guilty was returned it paved the way for the rest to likewise be acquitted of murder.

Hollie Davis (36, Castle Bromwich) who had been on bail after being charged with assisting an offender, was also found not guilty.

The others found not guilty of any crime, including George Khan (39, Kingstanding) and Michael Shields (36, Castle Bromwich) – who had been remanded on custody since their arrest – would be back home as soon as the court could process the relevant paperwork for their release.

In a case that has gone on for almost a year, tears of relief were shed both inside and outside the courtroom as friends and family members of those accused had been waiting at Birmingham Crown Court since Monday to hear the jury’s verdict.

Dea John Reid was fatally stabbed on Collage Road in Kingstanding on 31 May 2021, following incidents earlier in the day where he and a group he was with had attempted to rob the minors eventually accused of his murder.

Throughout the trial, extensive CCTV footage had showed Dea John Reid and his group coming into Kingstanding from Perry Barr – including the moments when both groups had met and the attempted robbery had taken place.

If found guilty of murder, the adults accused could have spent the rest of their lives in prison – with a ‘whole life order’ as a possible starting point for sentencing. As minors, the teenagers accused could have faced custodial sentences of a minimum of 12 years before being eligible for parole.

Before the jury returned to deliver their verdict, the presiding judge – Mr Justice Johnson – asked members of the public present to “control themselves” as the court would not tolerate any “outbursts” once the verdict had been read.

Dressed in white shirts and black ties, George Khan and Michael Shields hung their heads and looked down at the floor upon hearing the verdict of not guilty – with both wiping tears of relief from their faces.

However, for Dea John Reid’s mother and brother, who were present in the courtroom as the jury delivered their verdict, the judgement was a bitter blow for a family that has suffered such a tragic loss – as no murder charge was upheld.

Dea John Reid’s family, accompanied by Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, left Birmingham Crown Court calmly and quickly, and were initially unavailable for comment.

In a later statement, as the official family spokesperson, Bishop Jaddoo stated:

“Dea John was a well loved, brother and uncle. His family are mortified at the verdict and are of the opinion that is no justice for Dea John.

“The evidence clearly shows intent with a young man with a balaclava over his face and wearing a hood chasing Dea John with a knife and inflicting a stab wound to his (Dea John) chest and is not reflected in the jury’s decision.

“Many will say, where is the justice for Dea John.”

Bishop Jaddoo went on the say, on behalf of Dea John’s family, that whilst they were “mortified” with the verdict they wanted to thank West Midlands Police for the “support and the thorough investigation” they had conducted.

Kate Seal, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, stated: “I cannot begin to imagine the crippling sense of loss felt by Dea-John’s family and friends.

“The verdict of manslaughter will not undo the devastation felt by so many at the senseless loss of a young life.

“Such unnecessary violence has no place in our society and the death of Dea-John Reid should have never happened.

“The irrational use of violence that is now prevalent on our streets and in our communities must cease if we are to prevent further tragedies among our youth. While no verdict can return Dea-John to his family, my thoughts remain with them.”

Sentencing for the minor now found guilty of manslaughter will take place at Birmingham Crown Court on 5 May.

NEWS: Jury prepares to consider their verdict for Dea John Reid murder trail

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.

Michael Shields was the first to hand himself into the police, the day after the killing, with police eventually charging the Castle Bromwich man with murder, alongside Khan and the three minors.

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.

NEWS: Courtroom in tears as Dea-John Reid’s final moments caught on CCTV are played to jury

On Friday, 25 February, friends and relatives of Dea John Reid left the courtroom in tears after the schoolboy’s final moments were repeatedly played for jurors.

The fourth day of the murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court, expected to last up to eight weeks, again centred on CCTV and doorbell camera footage from Kingstanding.

Police officers recovered footage from more than 20 cameras around Twickenham Road, College Road, Hometon Road, and Wardour Grove.

Jurors were shown defendants George Khan (39) and Michael Shields (36) along with their three child co-defendants driving around several roads in a blue VW Golf looking for Dea-John Reid and his friends.

The court previously heard how Dea-John had an altercation earlier in the day in Kingstanding, where money had been demanded, before one of the minors accused phoned Khan – who was drinking in The Digby pub on the Chester Road with Shields.

The two men allegedly then jumped into Khan’s VW Golf and collected the boys, some of whom picked up weapons – including a kitchen knife and a wheel brace, before driving around Kingstanding and Perry Common searching for Dea-John and his friends.

Detectives painstakingly pieced together CCTV from shops and footage from doorbell cameras to show the chase in chronological order.

Detective Constable Dave Pugh, giving evidence for a third day, played footage from a College Road camera which had both groups in shot.

He said: “This is the moment the two groups saw each other. Dea-John became separated from his group and can be seen running alone.”

The two men and three boys can then be seen running across a busy College Road chasing after Dea-John, with some of the group carrying weapons.

DC Pugh replayed the audio of a doorbell camera on College Road at half speed, two thirds speed and normal speed. An older man can be heard shouting “f**k him up” to the boys ahead of him.

One of boys caught up with Dea-John on the corner of Wardour Grove and College Road. The police have recovered camera footage from both streets giving a clear view of the two or three second altercation which left Dea-John dead.

The boy approaches Dea-John and they clash, the boy can be seen making a hand movement with a knife towards Dea-John’s body. Dea-John can then be seen recoiling and holding his side while his attacker runs off.

The unnerving footage was replayed at different speeds several times, prompting two members of the victim’s family to leave the court in tears.

The judge then paused evidence for lunch, whilst other members of Dea-John’s family were visibly upset outside the court.

Due to the interest in the case, the defendants, the judge, several lawyers, and some members of the victim’s and defendants families are in one court – while lawyers and extended family of the victim watch proceedings from another room.

Dea-John Reid’s murder on 31 May 2021 prompted a massive response on social media, with a vigil held on the spot where he died attracting more than 1,000 people from across the country.

Shields, of Alvis Walk, Castle Bromwich, and Khan, of Newstead Road, Birmingham, and the three children, who cannot be named because of their age, all deny murder.

Hollie Davies, 36, of Waldon Walk, Birmingham, is accused of assisting an offender. She denies the charge.

The trial continues.

NEWS: Dea-John Reid trial begins as George Khan, Michael Shields, and three minors stand accused of murder

Words & pics by Ed King

The trial over the killing of schoolboy Dea-John Reid began at Birmingham Crown Court today, as George Khan (39), Michael Shields (36), and three minors stood accused of murder.

Hollie Davies (36), former partner of George Khan, also stood accused of assisting an offender.

Sitting in the main courtroom listening to the prosecution’s opening were Dea-John’s mother and brother, accompanied by Desmond Jaddoo who has counselled the family ever since the murder.

A ‘spill over’ court had also been made available to cater for the large number of family members and friends of Dea-John Reid.

Also present in the main courtroom were friends of Hollie Davies.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Richard Wormald QC described the “revenge attack” that led to the fatal stabbing of Dea-John Reid on Monday, 31 May 2021 – where the 14 year old was killed on Collage Road, Kingstanding, following a single stab wound to the heart, as according to the post-mortem examination.

The jury were told how two groups of young males, one including Dea-John Reid and the other including the minors accused of murder, had interacted earlier in the day – beginning with a dispute after they first crossed paths near the Kingstanding Circle, and continuing at a convenience store in the area.

It was alleged the group including Dea-John began “mugging” the minors accused, as one “demanded” an Armani pouch from one of the defendants whilst others were asked to “empty their pockets”.

Running away from the attempted robbery, and being chased by the group including Dea-John, it was further told how the minors accused then spilt up – with one seeking refuge in a local newsagent, before being let out via a back entrance by the shop owner as Dea-John Reid and the others in his group waited outside the front.

The prosecution then described how the minors accused reconvened at a family member’s house, where one of them contacted George Khan who was at that time in The Digby Pub, on Chester Road, with Michael Shields.

It was told how George Khan and Michael Shields then collected the three minors accused, driving them in Khan’s blue VW Golf to the area where the earlier altercation had taken place – looking for Dea-John and his group.

It was presented by the prosecution that all five accused of murder knew weapons were being carried and had the intention to inflict serious violence and cause grievous bodily harm.

The prosecution then described how Dea-John and his group were eventually spotted by George Khan, Michael Shields, and the three minors accused – after being driven around “on the hunt” in George Khan’s blue VW Golf.

According to the prosecution, there was then a chase with all five of those accused with murder complicit in “a group attack, during which each played their party, running after Dea-John Reid, thus enabling” the minor who delivered the fatal blow “to chase down and fatally stab Dea-John Reid to the left side of the chest.”

Richard Wormald QC then added: “The male defendants acted like a pack, chasing down their pray. Just like a pack in chase, all were close and converging.

“Having carried out the attack, the group then made off in haste – not one of them offered any support or comfort to Dea-John Reid, they simply left him to die.”

Once the prosecution had finished opening, which took several hours, the sequence of events was supported by a series of CCTV images and footage – with DC David Pugh, from the homicide team based in Aston, corroborating the locations and the identification of the defendants as mapped out by the images and video captured.

None of the defendants accused of murder deny or contest the references made to them featuring in the CCTV footage.

The prosecution also told the jury, the minor who delivered the fatal blow “accepts that he killed Dea-John Reid by stabbing him, but he will claim that he acted in self-defence.”

The prosecution further explained how the following day in the hearing would likely be taken up going through the extensive CCTV footage, and how the police “have been able to zoom in on the fatal stabbing, which the jury will see in due course.”

The individual barristers acting on behalf of the accused were also given a brief chance to introduce their defence, which for those accused of murder hangs largely on either not knowing their co-defendants were carrying weapons, or for the minor who stabbed and killed Dea-John Reid that they were acting in self-defence.

The case continues and is expected to last between six to eight weeks.

COURT REPORT: Coton Lane hit and run murderer, Tony Green, sentenced to 20 years behind bars – report from the courtroom

Words by Adam Smith / Crime scene pics by Ed King, profile pic & video courstesy of West Midlands Police

Tony Green has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years for murdering Shkelzen Taka outside an Erdington brothel in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

The entire incident was captured on CCTV and West Midlands Police have released harrowing footage of the final moments of Mr Taka’s life – which helped the jury convict Green of murder.

At Birmingham Crown Court this morning Judge Melbourne Inman told 27-year-old Green, of Suffield Grove, he had used his car as a “lethal weapon” to kill Mr Taka who sustained catastrophic head injuries when a road sign Green’s car crashed into landed on his head.

Judge Inman said: “The injuries caused to Mr Taka were truly horrific. The pole struck him with such force it split his head into two. His brain was recovered separately.

“You continued to drive over him in reverse and back over him to get away. You drove away.”

The court heard Green and Taka, 28, had exchanged brief words outside Ayurveda Health Spa Sauna, Coton Lane, at around 6am as Green was leaving and his victim and friend were entering. From this moment Green, who had been drinking brandy and wine throughout Christmas Day, was then intent on seriously injuring his victim.

Green, hoping Taka would leave the brothel so he could attack him, then jumped on Taka’s car’s bonnet and smashed his windscreen.

The commotion caused Taka to leave the brothel, get a metal bar and try to hit Green’s Skoda. Green then reversed as fast as he could at his victim, escaping the scene after killing him.

Green denied being responsible for destroying evidence after his car was found on fire later that day saying the blaze was “bad luck”.

He also claimed he reversed by mistake after having had problems with the gear box.

The jury took just an hour to convict Green of murder.

Mr Taka’s siter Sonila said: “Shkelzen was a much-loved brother and partner and his family are devastated at his loss.

“The pain we feel is not easily cured – pain in the soul that breaks me into a thousand pieces.”

Judge Inman paid tribute to the victim as he began sentencing. Addressing the defendant, who was dressed in an Adidas tracksuit and had several family members in court, he said: “Shkelzen Taka was only 28 years of age when you killed him.

“He had his life before him. He had come to this country from Albania and supported his family.

“No-one listening to the statements of friends and family could fail to have been moved by the love clearly held by those who knew him and the depth of their grief. They are clearly going to find it difficult to ever come to terms with their loss.”

Judge Inman outlined several points when Green could have left the scene but was instead in a “highly aggressive state of mind” and was intent on murder.

Referencing Green’s previous convictions as a drug dealer the Judge said he was “not of good character” but took into account he had not been in court for violence before.

The minimum sentence the judge could have handed down was 15 years but he instead he sentenced Green to a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

Green shook his head when told the sentence and there were gasps of anguish from his family, one of whom said: “disgusting”. When led away to the cells Green gave his family a thumbs up.

Three family members of the victim sat in silence throughout the proceedings.

Detective Inspector Wes Martin, from the force’s Homicide Unit, helped build the case against Green.

He said: “This is a tragic case where a chance encounter has led to the death of a family man and the imprisonment of another for life.

“All too often impetuous acts of violence lead to tragedy as we have seen here.”

He added: “My thoughts remain with Shkelzen’s family who continue to mourn his loss.”

Mark Heywood, defending, said: “He is still a comparatively young man. He has a supportive family split between two parts of the country. This has been a terrible experience for all of them but I am sure nothing compared to the family of the unfortunate Mr Taka.

“He has always been deeply affected by the death regardless of how he chose to conduct the trial.”

CCTV footage of Tony Green damaging car and attacking Shkelzen Taka

Report crime, get prevention advice, and see the latest news from West Midlands Police at www.west-midlands.police.uk