‘Both of us were holding the knife’ claims defendant in London Colney murder trial
PUBLISHED: 17:09 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 30 May 2019
A man accused of murdering a drug dealer for cash and drugs in London Colney said he was talked into it by his female co-defendant.
Ahsanullah Nawazai, known as Marshall, was stabbed to death while sitting in a car in Walsingham Way on November 28 last year, at the age of 20.
Carla Callum, 30, of Walsingham Way, and Anis Anderson, 20, of Fordwych Road in London, are on trial for murder at St Albans Crown Court but deny the charges.
Speaking in court on Thursday, May 30, Mr Anderson claimed Carla Callum had said he was not contributing to the upkeep of her home in London Colney, and that if he did not rob Mr Nawazai he would be homeless.
He said: "She was angry towards me because I wasn't providing. She told me I would no longer stay at the house. I couldn't really argue. I did not want to rob him."
The prosecution alleges that Mr Anderson and Ms Callum lured Mr Nawazai, who was from Walthamstow, to London Colney that evening, but Mr Anderson denied having any intention to rob and kill him.
He told his barrister, Anthony Berry, that Ms Callum told him to rob a drug dealer by intimidating him with a knife and taking his drugs and money, identifying Mr Nawazai as the robbery victim when he pulled up in the car.
He said: "She got a knife and she put it in my top pocket. She told me to put on latex gloves. I just wanted to keep her satisfied because I wanted a place to stay."
After getting into the passenger seat of the car, Mr Anderson said he froze and did not know what to do. He said: "He asked me why I was nervous. I couldn't get the words out of my mouth. He locked the door by the central locking."
Mr Anderson told the jury Mr Nawazai punched him in the face a few times, and as he was moving to dodge the punches he believes the knife fell from his pocket.
He said Mr Nawazai picked up the knife and tried to stab him, but he blocked it and cut his hand in what he described as a 'push and pull struggle'. The victim then received a stab wound to his heart.
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"I was trying to defend myself," Mr Anderson said. "It was all a blur. I was pushing him away. I didn't mean to stab him at all. Both of us were holding the knife."
He said Mr Nawazai unlocked the door and left, and he went back to his house in "shock and panic". When he and Carla Callum left the house, Mr Anderson claimed he did not see the victim and thought he had just run off.
Mr Anderson also denied Ms Callum's earlier claims that he dealt in crack and heroin and had been in contact with Mr Nawazai on the day of the killing.
He told the court he met Ms Callum in early 2018 when he was homeless and sofa surfing, and had not worked since the end of 2017 but was making money from selling cannabis. He said he stayed at her Walsingham Way home for periods between April and November last year and discovered she took crack cocaine.
"I tried to help her and I encouraged her to get off drugs," Mr Anderson said. "At the start she made a decent effort, but it didn't last long."
Earlier in the trial Ms Callum claimed she would never hurt Mr Nawazai, who she knew as Marshall, and that he was a "very nice guy". She also denied telling Mr Anderson to rob him.
Prosecutor Steven Perian said: "The Crown's case is that Ahsanullah Nawazai was lured to Walsingham Way, London Colney, where Carla Callum and Anis Anderson live.
"He was then viciously and brutally stabbed and robbed of his drugs and money."
The victim was found shortly before 7.13pm collapsed in front of the entrance to St Bernadette Catholic Primary School. He was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and socks but no shoes, and had a £20 note hanging half-crumpled out of his jeans pocket.
A post-mortem examination revealed a number of stab injuries, including a fatal one to the chest.
After the killing, Mr Anderson and Ms Callum spent two nights at the Elstree Inn Hotel in Shenley Road, Borehamwood, where they paid the deposit for the room in cash. Carla Callum allegedly gave her name as 'Kirsty Smith' and they stayed for two nights before leaving on November 30.
Later that day, Ms Callum approached a police cordon in Walsingham Way and told officers: "I live at number four. I have been away for a few days." She was then arrested on suspicion of murder. Anis Anderson was arrested on December 1 in Sydney Road, Tilbury.
The case continues.