‘JJ’ murder accused is freed as case collapses
‘No realistic prospect of conviction’ of man charged with killing Barnsbury father-of-two who was stabbed in Upper Street
10 August, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Jonathan ‘JJ’ McPhillips: ‘His murderers are still walking the streets of Islington’
THE case against a man charged with fatally stabbing a father outside the Town Hall has collapsed after the prosecution decided “there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”.
Michael Dyra, 22, from Hoxton, was charged with the murder of Jonathan “JJ” McPhillips in February this year after being first arrested in March the previous year.
Mr McPhillips, a father-of-two from Barnsbury, was stabbed in the chest in Upper Street on February 25, 2017. He died four days later in hospital. Mr Dyra was also charged with grievous bodily harm with intent, violent disorder and possession of an offensive weapon. He denied all the charges.
He was due to stand trial at the Old Bailey on Monday, but the prosecution offered no evidence on all the charges and the case was concluded. The judge recorded a not guilty verdict.
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service, the independent public body responsible for prosecuting people in criminal cases, said: “We keep evidence under constant review. In this case, concerns were raised by facial mapping experts regarding reliability.
“Following consultation, it was agreed there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction so no evidence was offered. The judge agreed with this decision.”
Michelle McPhillips, JJ’s mother who has become an anti-knife crime campaigner following her son’s death, said her family were “absolutely devastated” that no one was behind bars for her son’s stabbing.
“We’ve got no closure. We have to start from square one with our appeals [to find JJ’s killers],” she said. “I’ve asked the police about setting up a reward. His murderers are still walking the streets of Islington.”
Ms McPhillips said she was concerned that her son’s killers might never face justice.
“There’s not enough police, but they say they’re not giving up. I have to be out there now to raise awareness. Nobody else is going to do it,” she said.
The Met Police released CCTV footage of the brawl where JJ was stabbed as part of a BBC Crimewatch Roadshow appeal in June last year.
Footage of the February 25 attack shows six to eight hooded youths, some holding large knives, grouping in Richmond Grove before attacking a group of men who included JJ.
The grainy footage also shows the group leaving Upper Street following the brutal attack.