Date: 14 Jan 2018
Rezwan Ali was stabbed at a house party in Walsall on 14 January 2018.
A 21-year-old man was tried for his murder but acquitted.
The party had been held by a 17-year-old girl, a sixth form student, after her mother was away. She had only invited ten people but word got out on social media and sixty people turned up. The house was said to have been packed with some of the people knowing each other and others not.
Rezwan Ali had been with one group of people at the party whilst the 21-year-old man had been with another. It was noted that men associated with each of the two groups could all be identified.
The group that the 21-year-old man had been with had been invited to the party, whilst it was noted that Rezwan Ali had not been invited to the party. Rezwan Ali had arrived later in the night with some friends after having finished a night shift.
It was said that tensions had begun to mount between two groups of men, thought to have been triggered by something as simple as one person bumping into another. It was also heard that two of the men in the 21-year-old man's group had been making nuisances of themselves whilst there was no suggestion that the 21-year-old man had been joining in.
When the two groups were out on the patio in the garden a fist-fight started near the patio or garden wall during which a man was pinned up against the wall after which Rezwan Ali came into the garden and was stabbed.
The police were called out to the property at about 1.45am. They found Rezwan Ali in the kitchen with stab wounds to his chest. He had been stabbed three times and suffered a cardiac arrest and bled to death. One of the stab wounds had severed a vital artery.
There were no witnesses to the stabbing. However, the prosecution said, 'Despite the fact there is no eye witness evidence there is important scientific evidence that goes some way to prove it was the defendant who stabbed Mr Ali'.
Rezwan Ali had been working as a pizza delivery driver at the time and had arrived at the party later in the evening, mid-way through.
After the stabbing the people that had been in the group with the 21-year-old man were said to had fled through the garden by a side alley although the 21-year-old man himself was in the kitchen. He was found to have blood on him but said that he had got that when Rezwan Ali had brushed passed him as he came back into the kitchen.
The murder weapon was never found.
The 21-year-old man's friend were said to have then gone off to a nearby Tobery carvery where they met up with the 21-year-old man at 2.46am after which they got a taxi and went to a McDonalds restaurant where they had some food.
It was heard that the driver of the taxi said that one of the group had quite a lot of blood on the thigh area. The taxi-driver then dropped the men off one by one. The driver had worked for Choice Cars in Wednesbury and said that the passengers had all been aged between 18 and 20 and that they had all appeared to be somewhat panicked. He said that one of them asked him for a tissue as they had had a nose bleed.
It was heard that after the stabbing that the 21-year-old man had made repeated calls to an ex-girlfriend who had been at the party and the prosecution claimed that he had been trying to make an alibi for himself. It was heard that he had called his ex-girlfriend soon after he was dropped off home and that after he was interviewed by the police that he sent his ex-girlfriend a text message saying words to the effect ‘You must have seen me by the window, in the kitchen’. The prosecution said, 'We suggest that is an attempt to get her on board, to recruit her as an alibi witness'.
However, it was also heard that the 21-year-old man had also told her to delete some Instagram messages he sent her. The ex-girlfriend said that the 21-year-old man had contacted her through his sister’s Instagram account after the party. She said, 'I think he didn’t have a phone. He was really upset by the whole situation. He told me about how he was arrested and how he was taken out of his house really early in the morning. It upset his family and him. He was saying ‘did you not see me? I was stood in the kitchen next to the window looking out to the garden’. I was like ‘I didn’t see you’. He told me to delete the Instagram messages he sent to me on his sister’s account'.
It was heard that when the 21-year-old man was arrested that he had said, 'I was there. I know what this is about'. However, he said that whilst he was aware that there was a fight, that he had gone into the kitchen to avoid it. His defence noted that he didn't have any injuries about his body and he said that he had not been involved in the scuffle and had had no physical contact with Rezwan Ali although in a second interview he said that he might have had minimal contact with Rezwan Ali without him noticing it.
The prosecution said that the 21-year-old man had been armed with a knife at the time and that he had used it to stab Rezwan Ali, stating that whilst he had come to the party to enjoy it that he had lost his temper and stabbed Rezwan Ali, additionally noting that he was the only person that had been found to have blood on him.
The court heard that there was no suggestion that Rezwan Ali had been knocked off his normal stride by drink or drug.
Video recorded at the party was shown at the trial and it was heard that a man who was not associated with either party had been going around asking where his phone was.
It was said that when the two groups had gone outside that there was the sound of a bottle being smashed and a woman screaming and that people were glaring at each other and squaring up after which the fight started.
It was noted that no one saw Rezwan Ali get stabbed and he didn't appear initially to be hurt until he later collapsed by which time the rest of the 21-year-old man's group had fled down the alleyway.
The pathologist that carried out the post mortem said that the stab wound that had pierced his heart having entered on his left side and going in right, suggesting that the assailant had been right-handed. He said that it had cut one of the major arteries there and would have resulted in a significant haemorrhage. He said that the first stab wound had been horizontal and had cut Rezwan Ali's bicep and then just incised his shoulder muscle before terminating deep in his left shoulder and suggested that Rezwan Ali might have had his shoulder up at the time and that there was no evidence that Rezwan Ali had defended himself. He added also that there was no evidence that Rezwan Ali had assaulted anyone in that he had no offensive injuries. He described the stab wounds as 'forceful'.
The stab wound to his heart was described as having been in excess of four inches deep. The pathologist said, 'Essentially, this has gone through from the skin surface, through the muscles, through the rib cage and through the heart'. He said, 'The other stab wounds may have contributed to the bleeding but this was the cause of death. This is the fatal injury. It has caused significant damage to the heart. In terms of mobility and actions, some people will collapse straight away while others will have a few minutes of meaningful activity'.
The prosecution stated that the three stab wounds indicated that they were deliberate and that the attacker had at least intended to cause really serious harm.
Although the murder weapon was never found another knife was found in the kitchen which had blood on the handle.
The prosecution said, 'The knife must have been brought on to the property used on Rezwan Ali and taken away.
The girl whose party it was said that she organised the party through the social media platform SnapChat.
She said, 'There were a lot of males I didn’t know who came to the party. A lot of people came in groups. At the beginning it was fine and then when a lot more people came in the atmosphere started changing. My closest friend someone took his phone and that caused an argument. His phone was connected to the speaker to play music. A man was the one standing by the speaker. After about ten minutes the man came out with the phone. There was a lot more tension throughout the night when more groups came. Throughout the night I think outside someone was trying to hold back someone. There was a lot of aggression, facial expressions. At the beginning we were in the kitchen and then I remember going up the stairs and remember coming down stairs and there were loads I did not recognise. At that I felt a bit uncomfortable with so many people in the house'.
She said that she later started to feel stressed as things were being broken and people were starting to smoke and that she was worried about what her mother would say. She said that she saw people grinding cannabis.
She said that there was later the incident involving the mobile phone that went missing, noting that when it turned up it was found in a place that had already been searched. She said, 'Before then, the atmosphere was OK. The more people came the atmosphere started to change'.
A girl said that she recalled seeing Rezwan Ali come into the kitchen, saying, 'The first time I saw him he was in the kitchen standing on the side with his friends. I remember locking both doors because a lot of people had come into the house uninvited. As the night progressed more people came into the house. I had no control who was coming in. I remember there was a point when people were leaving. I was cleaning up in the kitchen. And then I remember seeing a heated argument in the door of the kitchen, and the heated argument outside on the patio. And then I remember going into the hallway and I was panicking. That is when I saw Rezwan come into the kitchen injured. And then he kind of put his hand on the kitchen door and that is when I noticed something was wrong and then he dropped at the fireplace. I was panicking at the time because I was in shock. I remember my cousin was trying to find tea towels to stop the bleeding. And then the police came and we all got escorted out of the house'.
She noted that if anyone had wanted to leave the house they could have via the front door, stating that they all left by the front door.
When she was asked who had been fighting outside she said that she didn't know, and said that she hadn't seen them again.
When she was asked how many people she thought that been involved in the argument outside on the patio she said, 'It seemed like six or seven. It looked like one person from one group and another from another group with the others backing'.
When she was asked about Rezwan Ali, said, 'I know he was involved in the argument in the garden. I just remember people were holding back each other and throwing punches and that’s when I went into the hallway and said there was a fight. All the boys who were in the kitchen went into the garden. It was one argument that went into the garden. I remember looking outside the window. It got heated. I remember when it got physical and I was panicking. That is when we saw Rezwan walk into the kitchen. To me it went very quickly. I would say, I can’t put a time on it. It was minutes. It felt like it went in slow motion. When we came back into the kitchen I was standing by the fridge. I remember he (Rezwan) walked through the kitchen door and he had his hand at the side of the door. At that point I did not see any blood. As soon as he walked in that’s when I noticed something wasn’t quite right. Every step he was making to the fire place there were gushes of blood. The blood was coming out while he was walking. It was coming from his body. It seemed to be coming from the top. I remember when he grabbed the door he seemed very weak and as he was walking it was like he was losing balance. When he did collapse everyone was panicking, people were looking for tea towels. When he came through the door he was on his own I did not see him come into contact with anyone. If he did brush past someone I would have seen that'.
In further evidence she said that she remembered someone being told to calm down who had been disrespectful to a woman who had slapped him. When she was asked, she said,'There were two people confronting one another and others close by and Rezwan was close by? And there were other people saying things like ‘chill’ and ‘leave it’' the girl replied, 'Yes'.
After the court was shown more video footage of the party, the girl was asked about the incident in the kitchen before the groups went out into the garden and she said, 'It was heated. The groups moved outside into the garden. I moved by the fridge and was looking out of the window. I saw they started fighting each other. They were all Asian boys except for one black boy. There were two groups and they were throwing punches. I saw a boy being pushed back against a living room window and that was when the fight started. I saw punches being thrown by two Asian boys. When he came inside he collapsed next to the fireplace and blood was spraying everywhere. The boys involved in the fight outside had left the party'.
When she was asked about the matter of the 21-year-old man having been in the kitchen and having come into contact with Rezwan Ali, she said, 'I did not see him in the kitchen'.
A youth that had been at the party said that there had been a group of about ten people involved in the fight. He said, 'The lads were outside, the girls weren’t, they remained in the kitchen. The fight just broke out and as it did it was a bit like a brawl, there was so much happening, so many people fighting. I was going back into the kitchen. Rezwan was walking past, he’s come in and turned to his left and walked straight down the kitchen. I’ve seen his body sway, he went straight onto the wall, smack, and dropped straight back. I was standing at the right shoulder of the 21-year-old man, I don’t recall him walking into the kitchen. I saw the blood and said to my friend let’s get out of here'.
He said then that he heard people start to scream, 'he’s been stabbed'.
The youth whose phone had been stolen said that he had left shortly before the fight happened, stating that he didn't feel safe and thought that the atmosphere downstairs was toxic. He said, 'Downstairs felt toxic. It didn't feel a good environment. I didn't know anyone. The people looked aggressive. My phone went missing when I came to collect it on charge. I raised my voice and asked if anybody had seen it. Within 10 minutes it was in a cupboard. Someone passed it to me. I left about five minutes after before anyone got injured. We left around 10pm'.
He said that the girl whose house it was and who was holding the party told him that the house was being wrecked and was out of control which he said prompted him and his friend to leave. He said that he heard about the stabbing shortly after he got home.
When he was asked about the people at the party, he said, 'Their behaviour was peculiar. They were very loud. It wasn't the normal type of people I would associate myself with'. When he was asked about the ethnicity of people at the party he said, 'Ninety per cent of the party was Asian. The others were black. There was also some white people'.
Another person that had been in the kitchen when Rezwan Ali came in said that he saw him stumble past him before collapsing on the floor, noting that he thought that he had been drunk at first until he saw Rezwan Ali's blood on his own trainers and jeans. He said, 'As he walked past me, some of his blood dripped onto my jeans and shoes. He carried on walking towards the kitchen before he just collapsed. He started gasping for air'.
He said that one group had been more aggressive that the other but that the fight itself lasted no more than 30 seconds.
Another person that had been in the kitchen said that the 21-year-old man had already been in the kitchen when Rezwan Ali staggered in and collapsed. He said, 'When we turned to see, when we heard the noise, Rezwan dropping, I was standing over the shoulder of the 21-year-old man. I don't recall seeing the 21-year-old man walking into the kitchen. I know he was the person in front of me. He was the person standing there, we were both watching Rezwan'.
The trial was held at Birmingham Crown Court and finished on 14 December 2020. The jury spent 19 hours deliberating before returning a not guilty verdict.