Jury sent out to deliberate verdicts for three defendants following fatal stabbing of University of Northampton student

The trial has been ongoing since October 12 and the jury members retired at 10.50am this morning
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The jury has now retired to deliberate the verdicts of three defendants, who have stood trial following the fatal stabbing of a University of Northampton student.

Kwabena Osei-Poku, formerly known as Alfred, died after he was fatally stabbed on Sunday, April 23 in New South Bridge Road, Far Cotton at 8.50pm near the Waterside Campus.

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Ogechi Eke, aged 19, of Brimsdown Avenue, Enfield, and Melvin Lebaga-Idubor, aged 19, of Abbey Road, Barking and Dagenham, entered not guilty pleas to their murder charges and carrying a knife.

Kwabena Osei-Poku, pictured right, was fatally stabbed in New South Bridge Road, Far Cotton on April 23.Kwabena Osei-Poku, pictured right, was fatally stabbed in New South Bridge Road, Far Cotton on April 23.
Kwabena Osei-Poku, pictured right, was fatally stabbed in New South Bridge Road, Far Cotton on April 23.

Zhanae Forbes-Coleman, aged 19, of Kendal Gardens, Edmonton, pleaded not guilty to her only charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The trial began on Thursday, October 12 and the jury members were sent out to deliberate at 10.50am on Tuesday, November 21.

Ahead of the jury members retiring this morning, they heard the final remarks in the summary of the case – which drew on Forbes-Coleman’s alleged involvement and evidence.

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The Judge first recalled evidence provided by individuals close to Forbes-Coleman, including a close family friend she has known all her life and another friend of more than seven years.

The court heard that Forbes-Coleman was described as “thoughtful, loving and hardworking” and that one of them was “shocked” to learn the 19-year-old had found herself in this situation.

Forbes-Coleman studied interior design at the University of Northampton and first met Lebaga-Idubor in November 2022, before the pair became a couple.

On the evening of Sunday, April 23 2023 – when Alfred was fatally stabbed – Lebaga-Idubor requested Forbes-Coleman to bring him some clothes to a friend’s house. The court heard Forbes-Coleman assumed this was to pack for their upcoming holiday together, as that is what she says she was doing that evening.

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Forbes-Coleman did not question why she was asked to do this, as Lebaga-Idubor was her boyfriend and they did not question one another, the court heard.

After seeing Lebaga-Idubor at his friend’s house and being told he was travelling to London for “family issues”, Forbes-Coleman was emotional and spoke to her sister about how she was feeling.

It was Forbes-Coleman who booked Lebaga-Idubor’s taxi from Northampton to London as he was unable to. The court heard the booking was ahead of Forbes-Coleman finding out about what had happened to Alfred at around midnight on Monday, April 24. Forbes-Coleman could not understand how Lebaga-Idubor could have been involved in what happened, which was rumoured at the time.

The court heard Forbes-Coleman was not told of any plan to steal cannabis from anyone, but would have told her then-boyfriend not to.

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In the communications between the two defendants following the incident, the court heard Forbes-Coleman’s claims that she was unaware that Lebaga-Idubor had been stabbed or was in any pain – nor was she aware of him leaving the country to go to France.

What else has happened in the trial?

The prosecution contended the fatal incident was instigated by a “drug dealing turf war” which saw a “large amount of cannabis” stolen by Lebaga-Idubor from Mr Osei-Poku.

Lebaga-Idubor, accused of being Alfred's killer, was reportedly also “likely involved in drug dealing”, the court heard.

Throughout the trial, the court also heard how Eke was described as the “most popular drug dealer on campus”.

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The court heard how Mr Osei-Poku stabbed Lebaga-Idubor first – in the side of the body – on New South Bridge Road in a bid to get his drugs back.