Shawn Seesahai: Jury in 12-year-olds’ machete murder trial hears closing defence speeches

Shawn Seesahai death Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Defence lawyers representing two 12-year-olds accused of involvement in a fatal machete attack have each urged jurors to acquit their client of both murder and manslaughter.

The youths, who cannot be identified because of their age, are alleged by the Crown to be jointly responsible for the murder of Shawn Seesahai, but blame each other for stabbing him through the heart and causing a skull fracture.

One of the defendants has admitted possessing the machete at the scene of the alleged murder near a bench on Wolverhampton’s Stowlawn playing fields, but told jurors his co-accused used the weapon to stab the victim.

The co-accused told Nottingham Crown Court that his only involvement was pushing Mr Seesahai and that he was “nowhere near” as his friend killed the 19-year-old.

In closing speeches to jurors on Monday, defence KCs Rachel Brand and Paul Lewis separately invited jurors to acquit their client of murder and an alternative count of manslaughter.

Floral tributes left at the scene at Stowlawn playing fields in Wolverhampton where Shawn Seesahai died on November 13 last year Credit: Matthew Cooper/PA

Ms Brand, representing the youth who admits owning the machete used to stab Mr Seesahai, asked jurors to consider whether the incident was “sparked” after the defendants were aggressively asked to move from a bench.

Making submissions on behalf of her client, she told jurors: “Common sense dictates that you must decide who caused the stab wounds.

“You can’t find him guilty of murder or manslaughter just because it was his knife.”

There were no witness accounts of her client shouting anything that would encourage the other boy to use the knife, Ms Brand told the court, adding: “There is no evidence at all to support the proposition that Shawn Seesahai was being punched and kicked and stomped on by both of these boys.

“He (Shawn) had no bruises … and the few small abrasions on his body could well have nothing to do with this incident.

“We invite you, ladies and gentlemen, on the evidence in this case, to consider that this may well have been a sudden and unexpected fatal stabbing by (the boy who denies owning the machete) acting alone – perhaps because he panicked or lost his head.”

Urging jurors to acquit her client of murder and manslaughter, Ms Brand added: “Such a verdict would not be some sort of approval of what happened.

“Such a verdict would not be some sort of approval of knife crime. It would simply be a true verdict on the evidence presented in this case.”

A forensic blue tent by the police cordon in East Park Credit: Stephanie Wareham/PA

In his closing speech, Mr Lewis claimed Ms Brand’s client had a fascination with lethal weapons.

He said of his client: “We submit that the proper verdicts would be not guilty on each of the counts that he faces.

“A mere presence at the scene of a crime is not enough.”

Mr Lewis then said of the other defendant: “This is a boy who scours the internet for them (knives). It goes beyond showing an interest in knives.

“Did he ever give you a good reason for why he kept the machete? He knew that was a weapon that had been used to kill a man.

“He must have been intending to take it out with him again – there is no other reason for bleaching it and hiding it in his bedroom.”

Mr Lewis also urged jurors to compare and contrast the evidence against the boys – with his client having a “small spot” of blood on the toe of his right trainer, while the co-accused had 11 areas of bloodstaining on his clothing.

Both defendants deny murdering Mr Seesahai, who was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering a fatal 23cm-deep wound which entered his back and “almost came out of” his chest.

High Court Judge Mrs Justice Tipples will sum up the evidence in the case on Tuesday.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…