Murder trial into Upper Street stabbing collapses on first day
Judge at the Old Bailey enters a "not guilty" plea after the prosecution submits no evidence
07 August, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Jonathan ‘JJ’ McPhillips who was stabbed in Upper Street in February 2017
THE case against a man charged with fatally stabbing a father outside the Town Hall has collapsed after the prosecution offered no evidence because “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 25 February 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 pleaded “not guilty” to all of the charges. He was due to stand trial at the Old Bailey yesterday (Monday) but the prosecution offered no evidence 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 transformed into an anti-knife crime campaigner following her son’s death, said her family were “absolutely devastated” that no one is behind bars for her son’s stabbing which took place more than a year ago.
“We’ve got no closure. We have to start from square one with our appeals [to find JJ’s killers]. I’ve asked the police about setting up a reward. His murderers are still walking on the streets of Islington,” she said.
Ms McPhillips said she was worried about whether her son’s killers would ever 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. The footage of the February 25 attack shows six to eight hooded youths, some holding large knives, grouping in Richmond Grove before running towards and attacking a group of men JJ was with.
The grainy footage also shows the group leaving Upper Street after the brutal attack.