Sam Mechelewski Murder Trial: Murder accused claims he was held at knife point by co-defendant
- Credit: Archant
One of the men accused of murdering Sam Mechelewski claims he was threatened with a knife by a co-defendant.
Appearing at Cambridge Crown Court on Wednesday, Jordan Shepherd described how he was held at knife point by Ashley White after the murder had taken place on January 31 last year.
Shepherd, 24, of Mayfly Close, Chatteris, was charged with the murder of Mr Mechelewski alongside Ashley White, 21 of West End, Brampton. Both deny the charge.
Shepherd was asked to describe events leading up to the day of the murder and told the court how Mr Mechelewski had asked him to chase up a drug debt that was owed by White.
Shepherd met up with White outside an address in Huntingdon where he had the intention of collecting the £70 that was owed.
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The court heard how, during their meeting, White told Shepherd that he knew of a cannabis crop that was growing in Hinchingbrooke Country Park.
Shepherd said: “I told him that I wasn’t interested in it. I knew it would be a big risk and not a lot of money would come out of it so told him I wasn’t interested.”
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White had then asked Shepherd if Mr Mechelewki would be interested in the drugs.
Shepherd told the court: “I think he thought that it was a way to pay back the money that he owed Sam. I then called Sam, who got really excited about it.”
Richard Barraclough QC, acting for Shepherd, asked the 24-year-old to explain to the court the different ways that cannabis could be grown.
Shepherd said: “There is the industrial way, which would be in a big warehouse. There’s urban, which is when people grow it in their homes, and then nature, where it is grown in pots, or in the ground.”
The court heard that Shepherd, White and Mr Mechelewski then agreed to visit the country park to see if the plants were there and, if they were, to come back the following day to harvest them.
Mr Barraclough asked Shepherd why he and White had visited Tesco in Huntingdon earlier that day to buy plain black tracksuits.
Shepherd said: “I didn’t want to get my clothes dirty. They are worth a lot of money, so I told him [White] that I wanted to get another tracksuit to wear.
“White also asked me to get him one, so I did. I did ask Sam if he wanted one but he said he was fine.”
The trio parked at Halfords in Huntingdon and turned off their phones, leaving them in Shepherd’s car while they walked to the country park.
White, the court was told, opened the boot and retrieved a baseball bat but Shepherd said both he and Mr Mechelewski decided not to take bats with them, as they didn’t want to get into trouble.
The trio were seen by three women walking near Hinchingbrooke Hospital as they made their way to the country park.
Shepherd said he and White were wearing the tracksuits from Tesco, and Mr Mechelewski, 20, from Huntingdon, was also wearing dark clothing.
He said: “These three ladies saw us and were laughing at us. We nearly called it off, we looked so stupid running down the road all blacked out.”
Once they had arrived at the country park they decided to split up to look for the cannabis crop White had mentioned earlier.
Shepherd said: “I heard voices getting louder but couldn’t hear what they were saying. I thought something was wrong and that one of the others had bumped into someone so I started running up the path because I was worried. There were two people stood in the pathway.
“I could tell one of them was Sam due to his jumper, but I didn’t recognise the other one. All I could see was a silhouette of a person who was holding Sam by the scruff of his neck.”
Shepherd said he then shouted ‘run’, as he didn’t know who was attacking Mr Mechelewski.
“I stopped and Sam ran towards me while the individual ran into the trees. We then ran around the bushes. I was following Sam but lost him.”
Shepherd said the three men had all agreed to meet at a location if anything went wrong or if they lost each other as no-one had their phones.
Shepherd said: “I was waiting there [at the agreed location] when Ashley turned up. He had a knife in his hands. I had seen the knife before as it was the one that me and Sam had bought. I kept asking where Sam was but he asked me for my car keys.”
Shepherd told the court that White had said to him that Mr Mechelewski was the ‘least of his problems now’.
Shepherd said: “He then asked for my car keys and I gave them to him. I thought I was being robbed.”
Mr Barraclough then asked Shepherd if he was surprised that White was acting in that manner.
He said: “Yes, I had taken him out for food and stuff.”
He told the court how he was held at knife point by White whilst he was leading him to the car.
He explained: “He had the knife in his hands behind me going towards where the car was. I was held at knife point.”
“Once we get to the car, I am the first to get in the driver’s seat and Ashley gets in and puts the bat between two seats, holding the knife in his left hand towards me. He said nothing and went through Sam’s bag. He had money, drugs and his phones in there. Ash took everything.
“He told me that he wanted money from me, but I didn’t have any in the car. He said that I needed to pay him or certain people would have problems. I though that he might threaten Ciara [Shepherd’s girlfriend].”
The case continues