NEWS: Erdington community mourns ‘local legend’ and Town Centre Manager Terry Guest

Introduction & pics by Ed King 

Local residents and businesses across Erdington are in mourning for the “local legend” and once Town Centre Manager Terry Guest, after he sadly passed away during the Christmas period.

Having run the Erdington Business Improvement District (BID) from 2011 to 2022, and acting at the Town Centre Manger throughout that period, Terry was a well known and respected face on Erdington High Street and beyond.

A local resident and business owner, Terry knew all the good, bad, and bright possibilities Erdington had to offer and worked tirelessly to champion the High Street – from fighting for the rights of local retailers, to supporting the music and art events that continue to bring the High Street together.

On hearing the news of his passing, Erdington Local asked some of the people who worked closely with him to express their condolences – which you can read below.

We would also welcome more thoughts, prayers, pictures, and personal messages from anyone who knew Terry for a wider memorial feature in our February/March newspaper. To get in touch please click here or email [email protected]

From everyone at Erdington Local: Terry, you will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and love are with Jill, your wider family, and friends.

Cllr Robert Alden: “It was an honour to call local legend Terry Guest a friend as well as a colleague, having worked with him as BID Manager in my roles as a local Councillor and director of the BID for over a decade.

“Terry in his time as a fellow Erdington resident and first shop keeper and then BID manager for the High Street truly left his mark on the community and helped to make it a better place than would otherwise have been.

“They simply don’t make them like Terry anymore and Erdington is worse off without people like Terry. Our thoughts and prayers and with Jill and the rest of his family and friends at this awful time.”

Cllr Gareth Moore: “Terry Guest was a true stalwart for the High Street for many years and strived to make it a vibrant destination for people to shop and visit.

“I am grateful for all of the considerable effort he put in, working with myself and Robert, to secure improvements for the High Street, some of which are still there today, and to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour which has sadly blighted our local centre for far too long. It was a pleasure to work with him as BID manager and he will be missed by local residents and businesses alike.”

John Lynch, Erdington Street Warden: “Terry did a lot of work on the High Street and a lot of people respected him, and he’ll be sadly missed.

“He lived in Erdington so this was his home as well and he really cared about the High Street; he always did his best to make sure things were OK here and help as many stores and people as he could. He made a difference, a big difference.”

John Hodgkiss, Town Centre Manager: “Terry worked tirelessly to continually improve Erdington Town Centre. He was extremely kind, generous, and was so well loved by all retailers and stakeholders on the High Street. Terry will be greatly missed by everyone in Erdington and all who knew him.”

Paulette Hamilton MP: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Terry Guest’s passing. As the former BID manager, Terry made a lasting impact on Erdington’s Business Improvement District for over a decade.

“He was instrumental in improving the security, environment, and vitality of our High Street, as well as being a strong voice for our local business community.

“He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and worked with him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Claire Marshall, Active Arts: “In one of our last conversations he fondly joked how he loved how out of mad and wild ideas, events would happen.

“Not everyone saw all that he did for the High Street, but he was often quietly supporting local activity and open to thinking about new ways to bring people to shop on the High Street.

“Thank you, Terry, for letting us put on music, crafts, and doing some really bonkers events, and for loving Erdington in a way that it deserves.”

If you would like to contribute any words or pictures to a wider memorial feature for Terry Guest in our Feb/Mar newspaper, please email: [email protected]

NEWS: Kingstanding rallies round family after sudden death of kind hearted mum and animal lover

Words by Kingstanding editorial team

The Kingstanding community has rallied round a kind hearted local family, after the sudden death of a 42-year-old mum left behind more than just her grieving loved ones.

Animal lover Clare Banks, who had attended Stockland Green School, could never turn her back on an animal in distress, and along with her long-term partner Simon and their seventeen-year-old son Mikey had adopted a house full of rescue animals.

But following her fatal heart attack at home earlier this year, Clare’s tragic and sudden death also left her beloved 22-year-old horse Tallulah facing an uncertain future – with the horse potentially being put down if the stable costs to keep her could not be met.

Clare’s friend Louise Jordan, who also looks after Tallulah’s sister, launched a GoFundMe page to safeguard the horses’ future and prevent her being put down if a buyer cannot be found.

Within 48 hours nearly 40 people donated more than £1,300 to the online campaign, smashing the target of £1000 and ensuring Tallulah had the finance needed to keep her safe and pay for her upkeep at the stables where devoted Clare had cared for her.

Louise Jordan told: “Clare was just 42 when she unexpectedly lost her life. The family have requested no flowers, but instead are asking for donations to help look after her beloved horse (Tallulah) who’s missing her so much.”

A well loved member of the Kingstanding community, hundreds of people turned out for Clare’s funeral on Friday 13 October at Streetly Crematorium and for the wake held at New Oscott Social Club.

Greving partner Simon, 47, explained: “Clare was like Dr Doolittle, I’ve never known anyone love or care for animals like she did.

“When she was a girl, she found an injured squirrel and managed to tame her and have it as a pet for years, its unheard of to that with a wild squirrel.

“She was one of a kind. I’ve so many pets now, including four dogs; she would always get her way when it came to saving a dog from being put down. She should have been a vet.”

He added: “She even convinced me to get two horses, not one, when she told me Tallulah’s sister needed a home too. And she presented the horse to her friend as a Mother’s Day present, because she was like that.”

“However, we need to ensure Tallulah is looked after so she can stay with her sister at the stables in Walsall Wood. So many people have come forward, because she touched so many lives.”

Simon, an asbestos removal manager, added: “Kingstanding has just been amazing, so many people have offered their love and support.

“There is not a lot that can be said at the moment, we are all in shock. All I can do is give people a hug and thank them.”

To help support Tallulah and donate to the appeal, visit www.gofundme.com/f/keep-clares-horse-whos-missing-her-so-much – or search ‘Keep Clare’s horse’ on www.GoFundMe.com

NEWS: Stockland Green church asks members to pray and fast for ‘apostle’ after manslaughter arrest following death of a man in his 60s

Words by Erdington Local editorial team

A Stockland Green church where a man reportedly died during a baptism has cancelled meetings and events this week – whilst asking members to pray and fast for the ‘apostle’ at the centre of ongoing manslaughter investigations.

Life Changing Ministries, Slade Road, has become the focus of international attention after a man in his 60s died in a small outside pool at the address on Sunday 8 October.

It is reported a baptism was taking place and was being live streamed on the group’s Facebook page – with a picture being widely shared online following the incident.

West Midlands Ambulance Service attended the scene and tried to save the man, named on the church’s Facebook page as Robert Yap.

West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed: “We were called at 1.42pm on Sunday to a medical emergency at a private address on Slade Road in Stockland Green, Birmingham. Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and a critical care car from Midland Air Ambulance attended the scene. Upon arrival we found a man.

“Ambulance staff administered advanced life support to him but unfortunately, despite the best efforts of ambulance staff it became clear that nothing more could be done to save him and he was confirmed deceased at the scene.”

The story made headlines across the world this week, being picked up by media outlets across the UK and several Christian websites in America and Africa.

But whilst police investigate the tragedy, several posts have appeared on the Life Changing Ministries Facebook page inviting members to join in three ‘Powerful Days of Prayer and Fasting’, running from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 October.

A post made on Tuesday 10 October further stated: “URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT!! APOSTLE CHERYL REID – BARTLEY IS URGING ALL MEMBERS TO JOIN WITH HER IN THESE THREE (3) DAYS OF INTENSE AND DEEP WARFARE, PRAYER AND FAST FOR THE MINISTRY, FOR APOSTLE (HERSELF) AND FOR OUR FAITHFUL MEMBERS!!!”

Other posts made by the church’s Facebook administrators include a near hour long message to camera made by Ms Reid-Bartley, under the heading: ‘Our Beloved Brother, Robert Yap of Life Changing Ministries, Birmingham, England has went Home to be with the Lord.’

The post also quotes 2 Corinthians 5:8 (King James Version): ‘We are confident I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’

Following the social media messages, Life Changing Ministries received several messages of support from members of the church.

Markita Davis Humphrey posted in the comments section: “Always lifting up LCM and Apostle Cheryl and LCM sons and daughters and our families.”

Keisha Riley added: “We will continue to fast and pray Apostle, we’re in this together, we appreciate and love you.”

However, other people criticised the lack of prayers for the man who died.

Donna Francis said: “…none of this people praying for the family of this man what died, all u on praying for the apostle who went to heaven and come back because she did not like up there, and leave the man because he like what he see madness all you stop it this man family is grieving.”

Whilst Mai VaDhikondo posted: “Well life changed really quickly for the apostle, I wonder if she saw this one in her many revelations. Pray for the man who died please!”

Hannah George added: “Who’s praying for the family of the man who died if u don’t mind me asking.”

Following the initial response from emergency services on Sunday 8 October, West Midlands Police were notified about the tragedy and officers and have arrested a woman in connection with the death.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed: “A woman has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a man in his 60s died in Erdington on Sunday.

“A post mortem examination will be carried out in due course to establish the cause of the man’s death, while detectives carry out enquiries into the circumstances surrounding his death.

“A 46-year-old woman who was arrested in Birmingham has been released on police bail while enquiries continue.”

The case continues.

NEWS: Hundreds delayed after ‘casualty on the tracks’ at Erdington Train Station

Words by Erdington Local editorial team

Hundreds of passengers were delayed this morning, after trains were cancelled due to a fatality on the line at Erdington Railway Station.

Emergency Services were called to the Cross City Line station just after 8am and trains between Lichfield and Birmingham were stopped.

Police and ambulance services were at the scene this morning, with local commuters seeing the emergency services around Station Road and taking to social media to warn other to avoid the area.

West Midlands Railway estimated there could be delays until just before midday, and the police have confirmed the death is not being treated as suspicious.

A British Transport Police spokesman said: “Officers were called to Erdington at 8.09am following reports of a casualty on the tracks. Paramedics also attended however sadly a person was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The incident is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service added: “We were called to an incident on the railway line near to Erdington Station at 8.06am. One ambulance and a paramedic officer attended the scene. On arrival we discovered one patient.

“Sadly, it quickly became apparent nothing could be done to save him and he was confirmed dead at the scene.”

A popular route for people heading out to work, Birmingham University, or the QE Hospital, National Express West Midlands are accepting tickets from affected rail users on its bus services until further notice.

West Midlands Railway tweeted at 9am: “Cancellations to services between Birmingham New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley. Due to the emergency services dealing with an incident between Birmingham New Street and Lichfield Trent Valley Hl the line is blocked.

“Tickets will be accepted on NXWM bus routes – 11A, 11C, X14, 14, 65, 66, 67, 907, X3, X4, X5, 6, 77, 77A.

“Coaches have been requested starting at Lichfield Trent Valley and Sutton Coldfield shuttling between stations.”

For more on all train services across Birmingham visit www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk

LA FEATURE: Compassionate Communities – living through bereavement with Compass Support

Words by Estelle Murphy / Project pics supplied by Compass Support

Few things in life are definite. But we will be born, we will face changes, and at the end we will pass away. Before birth parents have had nine months to prepare, and as we grow life teaches us how to live with change, but what prepares us for death?

Whilst death is a subject many still find hard to talk about, Birmingham has been recognised as the UK’s first ‘Compassionate City’ – awarded the accolade by Compassionate Communities UK in acknowledgement of how organisations across the city work collaboratively ‘to provide support, space, togetherness and understanding for those undergoing the experiences of death, dying, loss and caregiving.’

Building on those friendships and foundations, Castle Vale based Compass Support are launching their Compassionate Communities project this May – teaching people practical and emotional skills to help them support those facing bereavement in their own community.

Compassionate Communities will be delivered through a series of free workshops and awareness sessions, helping to educate people about dealing with bereavement and to ensure more in our community know where to go for help, advice, and support when someone is passing away.

The project will work with local groups and individuals to help break down the walls surrounding death, so people can talk more openly and constructively about dying.

LOCAL AMBASSADORS spoke to Isobel Hayward, Health and Wellbeing Project Organiser from Compass Support.

She explained: “The (Compassionate Communities) scheme was bought to us through Birmingham City Council, as facilitators of compassion, to bring it to anyone in the community that works with people.

“We run workshops on how to approach death and end of life, and going forward people will know who to call for help with bereavement, end of life, and financial support.

“Our awareness sessions on end of life are completely free and open to community groups and individuals.”

LOCAL AMBASSADORS further asked Isobel why she thought this scheme is so needed: “I think it’s because when you are dealing with loss and death, you are consumed by what’s going to happen and your grief.

“Easing that with the knowledge of who to call and what to do, or who can offer support for families is important. It’s about tailoring the process for individual needs.”

As the those who work in palliative and end of life care know all too well, there is no handbook for the general public on what to do and where to go when someone is dying, and often these families are left isolated, grieving and alone.

Any scheme giving people more help, support, and knowledge around dealing with bereavement will ultimately help people spend their last few days or weeks with their loved ones, instead of chasing information and adding more worry to an already stressful and heart-breaking time.

The more people who can offer support the better, and it’s never too early to have the knowledge you need to support yourself, loved ones, or friends. Who will be there with compassion, when you need them, at the end?

To find out more about the Compassionate Communities project being delivered through Compass  Support please email: [email protected] 

**For free community journalism and creative writing workshops, come and join our LOCAL AMBASSADORS team – click on the link below and email us for more information**

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.

ELECTION NEWS: Erdington to vote for next MP as by-election date set for 3 March

By Erdington Local election news team

The upcoming by-election to decide who will be Erdington’s next Member of Parliament has been set for Thursday, 3 March.

A tweet made by the Labour Party whips office on Monday, 31 January, stated:

“First item of business today in @HouseofCommons – Opposition Chief Whip @alancampbellmp moving the writ for the Birmingham Erdington By-election. Polling Day 3 March 2022.”

The by-election follows the sudden death of Jack Dromey MP, who was found dead at his constituency residence on Friday, 7 January.

Candidates from parties across the political spectrum are expected to contest the seat, with Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Lab, Holyhead) already announcing her intention to run as Labour’s sucessor to Jack Dromey – after being selected by local party members via an online vote on Wednesday, 26 January.

Currently the Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr. Hamilton was the first candidate to publicly declare their intention to stand for the Erdington seat – which if successful, would make her Birmingham first ever black Member of Parliament.

Addressing local Labour Party members at her official campaign launch, at Highcroft Community Centre on Saturday, 29 January, Paulette Hamilton told the crowd: “Can I thank you all for your support. I cannot believe it, the overwhelming support I have had from people throughout the constituency.

“We have got a lot of work to do. We are going to run a clean campaign; we are going to fight at the doorsteps to take the Labour message to the people.”

Also currently in the running is Dave Nellist, the one time Labour MP for Coventry South, who has declared his intention to run for Erdington MP as the official candidate for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

A longstanding supporter of worker’s right – who famously donated 60% of his MP’s salary to the Labour movement, trade unionists, and community campaigners – Mr Nellist is expected to take a strong anti-austerity stance and champion support from Erdington’s industrial community and factory workforces.

Following his announcement on Thursday, 27 January, Mr Nellist posted on social media:

“With Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour welcoming a Tory MP into the parliamentary party last week – while confirming Jeremy Corbyn’s exclusion from the PLP at its national executive committee meeting on January 25th – it couldn’t be clearer that the interests of Britain’s wealthy establishment will be in safe hands if and when they decide to move on from Boris Johnson’s disintegrating premiership. Starmer is so obviously not on our side.

“That is why I am proud to represent TUSC in the Birmingham Erdington by-election and would urge other trade unionists, socialists and community campaigners to also consider standing for TUSC in the forthcoming local council elections in May.

“Red Tories, Blue Tories or Yellow Tories carrying out policies against the interests of the working class majority cannot expect to be unchallenged at the ballot box”.

Since announcing their respective candidacies, both Paulette Hamilton and Dave Nellist have been canvassing across the constituency and receiving strong online support – although response has favoured those with strong links to the area.

There is also growing concern that Dave Nellist’s candidacy could split the Labour vote, adding pressure to the party that has consistently held the Erdington seat since 1974.

At the time of writing, no other parties have proposed a candidate for the Erdington by-election – however many are speculating Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington) will stand again for MP, having contested the Erdington seat in the last four General Elections,

Cllr Alden, who has narrowed the gap between Conservatives and Labour in the last two General Elections, also lives locally – which could work well for voters who are keen to see a familiar face represent them in Parliament.