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Nashon Esbrand murder trial: Man accused of murder ‘fled after knife was pulled’

QC tells Old Bailey trial that defendant ‘didn’t know that serious injury was going to happen’

23 March, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Nashon Esbrand, who had just become a father, was chased by five men before his death, the trial has been told. Picture: SliderCuts

LAWYERS for a 20-year-old man accused of being part of a group who murdered a new dad in broad daylight have said he left the scene once a knife was pulled out and that he wasn’t in a gang.

Dillon Zambon, 20, and Jhon Berhane, 18, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of murder.

The prosecution alleges that the two young men were part of a group of five who chased Nashon Esbrand, 27, down Essex Road on push bikes before he was fatally stabbed by one of the group just yards from his mother’s home last August.

They both deny the charges. A 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons because of his age, pleaded guilty to murder two weeks ago.

Jurors have been shown footage of five youths riding around Mr Esbrand, who was eventually cornered in Mitchison Road, off Essex Road. Mobile phone footage taken by a neighbour showed a youth stabbing Mr Esbrand – twice in the leg and once in the back.

Mr Zambon’s defence counsel, Judith Khan  QC, told the court on Wednesday that her client “didn’t know that serious injury was going to happen to Mr Esbrand” and that seeing a knife pulled out was a “game changer” for him.

She said: “He had no intention of taking part in a serious attack on Mr Esbrand. He never dismounted his bike. He didn’t intend to participate in any form of attack.

“He was off after seeing the knife and the eye-witnesses are consistent with that.”

A fourth suspect has not been identified through CCTV footage while the prosecution has said that the fifth suspect is Jack Stevens, who is believed to be abroad.

Ms Khan told the court that Mr Zambon was not a member of the Cally Boyz gang, who are alleged by the prosecution to have shown hostility to Mr Esbrand before his death.

“He wasn’t a gang member but with his own admission he associated with gang members,” she said. “He grew up together [with Jack Stevens] and said he had known him as long as he can remember.

“It is a sad indictment of our society that gangs are hard to avoid. You must not assume the defendant is guilty because he was associated with gangs.”

Prosecutor Hugh Davies QC, describing the moments after the stabbing, said “different sides of humanity” were shown by the five youths and the passers-by and neighbours who rushed to help Mr Esbrand after he collapsed in a doorway.

He said: “They were doing their best with Nashon and showing humanity to him as he lay bleeding, effectively to death.” A bus driver had used his jacket as a tourniquet.

He described how a neighbour cradled Mr Esbrand and encouraged him to stay awake.

Mr Davies added: “As a contrast you have the cyclists racing back to the Cally as if nothing had happened.”

The jury is expected to retire today (Friday) or early next week.

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