Unsolved Murders

Samuel Marriott-Gray

Age: 30

Sex: male

Date: 31 Oct 2015

Place: Pegasus Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford

Samuel Marriott-Gray was stabbed in the neck in a street brawl outside a party at about 2.30am on 19 August 2006. He later died from his injuries on 31 October 2015 at an Oxfordshire nursing home.

The street brawl was said to have involved a large group of up to 20 people.

The knife had gone into his neck on the right side and had penetrated to the hilt, entering his brain.

Samuel Marriott-Gray later died from bronchopneumonia and septicaemia against the background of brain injury and renal abscess.

A 39-year-old man was convicted for his attempted murder in March 2007 and later tried for his murder in August 2017 but was acquitted.

The man tried for his murder had pleaded not guilty to the initial attempted murder charge and claimed that he had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

After the initial stabbing in August 2006, the man said to have done it, who was originally from Jamaica and lived in Oxford, was searched for. However, he was found to have left Oxford and gone to a place in Langworthy, Salford, Manchester, where he was arrested on 31 August 2006. When he was arrested, he gave no comment responses to police questions during the interview and maintained his innocence.

It was heard that when the man, who was still in prison at the time, was told of the murder charge following Samuel Marriott-Gray's death, he welcomed the opportunity to clear his name.

Samuel Marriott-Gray had been out earlier with some friends for a birthday celebration at the Blackbird pub after which they had gone to the blues night after-party at a property in Pegasus Road.

Samuel Marriott-Gray was stabbed in the neck with a long-bladed knife at the party on Pegasus Road in the early hours of 19 August 2006 during a row over paying £5 to get into the blues night after-party.

It was noted that although the brawl had started partly because Samuel Marriott-Gray and another person had refused to pay an entry fee, that there had also been an underlying feud between Jamaican-Jamaicans, a group which the man tried belonged to, and British-Jamaicans, a group that Samuel Marriott-Gray belonged to, which had increased the tensions before the fight.

A man said that he saw the man on trial and Samuel Marriott-Gray fighting and saw Samuel Marriott-Gray kick the man a couple of times before he appeared to lose energy and started staggering backwards. He said that he then saw a lot of blood and saw a knife sticking out of his head.

After being stabbed in the neck, Samuel Marriott-Gray was said to have gone and sat on a wall and to have then called over another woman and asked her to take the knife out of his neck, adding that he didn’t know what he was doing. The woman said that Samuel Marriott-Gray had been sat on the wall shaking very violently and was pointing to his neck.

The long-bladed knife had a black handle and was 18cm long and had previously been used in evidence when the man was convicted of Samuel Marriott-Gray's attempted murder. However, it was heard that there was no DNA evidence linking the weapon to the man tried. DNA that was found on the weapon included Samuel Marriott-Grays and DNA from another man who was not the man on trial.

After being stabbed Samuel Marriott-Gray was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital where he was operated on. Samuel Marriott-Gray was later diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state and could only eat with the aid of a tube and transferred to a nursing home.

It was also heard that someone had tried to hit Samuel Marriott-Gray with a golf club but had missed and had hit the man on trial on the head with it, causing bruising.

At the murder trial, a forensic pathologist said that the blow with the knife would have been made with significantly more force than a reasonable punch and that the blow was categorised in the highest category available, that of 'severe'.

It was heard at the attempted murder trial that Samuel Marriott-Gray had named the man that had stabbed him before he went into a coma, using the man's nickname. However, it was claimed at the attempted murder trial that Samuel Marriott-Gray was mistaken as to the identity of his attacker. It was heard that many of the prosecution witnesses, who were family members of Samuel Marriott-Gray, had not seen Samuel Marriott-Gray getting stabbed and had had their view obscured by the large number of people involved in the affray. The defence said that it was not disputed that Samuel Marriott-Gray had given the name of the man that stabbed him as he did, but said that he was mistaken and that many of his friends and family had then taken the opportunity on that to lie about what they had seen. The defence asked whether Samuel Marriott-Gray could have been wrong in giving the name that he did and said that they had had no opportunity to question him about why he thought the man he had named had done it. The defence noted that the violence outside the party was fast-moving ensuing chaos and that there had been many people there. The defence also noted that it appeared that Samuel Marriott-Gray's family genuinely believed that the man on trial was to blame and said, 'Could it be the case that some of them chose to add a little bit to their evidence and embellish or lie to get, what they say, is justice for Samuel? It's unsurprising they wouldn't consider that Samuel got it wrong. It is a close-knit family if one person had a problem it was everyone's. People may have been prepared to pick up the baton and run with it'.

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