A teenager accused of murdering a young man in Cardiff told a court he felt “sick” and “traumatised” when he realised the man had died.
Saif Shahzad denies unlawfully killing 20-year-old Malaciah Thomas with co-defendants Daniel Roberts, Christopher Griffiths and Awez Jamshaid and is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Patrick Harrington QC asked: “The reason you did not go to the police is because you knew you had been involved in the killing of another human being?”
Shahzad replied: “That is not right, no.”
Mr Thomas died following the incident on Corporation Road in Grangetown in the early hours of July 23 last year.
Giving evidence from the witness box, Shahzad, 19, said he worked for Roberts delivering drugs.
Asked if he was scared of his boss, he replied: “Yes. He was much bigger than me. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to get into a fight with him.”
Mr Harrington suggested he knew Naomi Davies was “two-timing” Roberts and Mr Thomas and asked if Shahzad realised Roberts and Griffiths were getting “extremely angry” that day.
The defendant stated he was in and out of Griffiths’ flat in the hours before the incident, adding: “I couldn’t tell you.”
He told the court he and his friend Jamshaid were making their way home when they got a call from Roberts asking them to do another drugs “drop”.
Asked what he thought was going to happen, Shahzad said he believed they were going for “a spliff” at a friend’s flat in Holmesdale Street.
Mr Harrington asked: “Does Daniel Roberts normally put gloves on to smoke a spliff?”
Shahzad said he did not realise Roberts was wearing gloves and had “no idea” what was going to happen next.
He told the court he was “shocked” when he saw the violence, adding: “My plan was to stop the attack.”
During his evidence-in-chief, Shahzad stated he saw Roberts and Griffiths both “punching” the victim and only later realised a knife had been used.
Christopher Clee QC suggested his client Griffiths did not deliver blows to Mr Thomas.
Shahzad replied: “I seen all three of them together. I seen punches being exchanged by all three parties. I’m just saying what I saw.”
Mr Harrington asked: “You knew they were going there because of a grievance against another man? Four of you there to make sure the odds were in your favour?”
The defendant replied: “No, that’s not right.”
Shahzad told the court he did not find out until the next day that someone had died and the prosecutor asked why he did not go straight to the police.
He answered: “I had never been put in a position like this in my whole, entire life. I felt sick. I was traumatised.”
Shahzad added he was scared officers would not believe his account and remand him in custody.
Mr Harrington asked why, if he was as “appalled” as he told the jury he was, he went out to buy a PlayStation the next day.
The defendant replied he had already arranged to meet his cousin to go shopping and was “trying to take his mind of things”.
Shahzad, of Fidlas Road in Cyncoed; Jamshaid, 19, of Moore Close in Ely, and Griffiths, 30, of Newport Road in Roath, deny murder.
Roberts, 20, who does not have a fixed address, changed his plea on Thursday and will be sentenced following the trial.
The case continues.
We covered the opening of the prosecution case and the defence case so far live – you can see the updates below.
We have also published these two articles from other parts of the prosecution case.
This is how proceedings have unfolded so far:
The case will resume on Monday with Awez Jamshaid’s evidence
The jury have just come back into the courtroom.
Mrs Justice Nerys Jefford said the case will resume on Monday.
She apologised for the short day and said they moved more quickly than they were expecting.
Awez Jamshaid will be the next to give evidence on Monday. They don’t want him to be “part-heard” over the weekend.
The case will resume at 10.30am on Monday.
‘You knew you had been involved in the killing of another human being’ – Prosecutor
The prosecutor concludes by accusing Shahzad of not going to police because he knew he had been involved in a killing.
PH: When you saw serious violence had been inflicted you carried on as normal?
PH: The reason you did not go to the police, because you knew you had been involved in the killing of another human being?
SS: That’s not right, no.
That is the end of Saif Shahzad’s evidence. There will now be a short break.
‘Four of you were there to make sure the odds were in your favour’ – Prosecutor
In the final moments of his cross-examination, Prosecutor Patrick Harrington continues to probe Shahzad’s defence.
PH: [You were] Walking up the road behind Daniel Roberts and Christopher Griffiths?
PH: You walked past 142 [Holmesdale Street]?
PH: You could see into the front of 142 where Daniel Roberts was putting gloves on?
SS: It appeared to me he was facing towards the door.
The prosecutor insists Shahzad was there to help Roberts and Grifiths but Shahzad denies it.
PH: If you had needed to, you would have been there to help, wouldn’t you?
PH: You knew they were going there because of a grievance against another man?
SS: No, that’s not right.
PH: Four of you there to make sure the odds were in your favour?
‘Roberts was getting more and more angry’ – Prosecutor… ‘I couldn’t tell you’ – Shahzad
Prosecutor Patrick Harrington repeatedly pushes Shahzad to say that Roberts and Griffiths were “extremely angry” that day.
Repeatedly Shahzad refuses to say.
PH: You knew Naomi Davies was two-timing him [Roberts], didn’t you. Because although she was there, she was on the phone a lot. Both Christopher Griffiths and Daniel Roberts were extremely angry?
SS: I couldn’t tell you. I wasn’t there.
Shahzad said he was in and out of Griffiths’ flat that night.
PH: Daniel Roberts was getting more and more angry as the day went on?
SS: I couldn’t tell you.
PH: Christopher Griffiths was getting angry, wasn’t he?
SS: I couldn’t tell you.
Shahzad tells the court he was frightened of co-defendant Daniel Roberts
The prosecutor turns to Shahzad’s relationship with the man who has now admitted murder, Daniel Roberts.
PH: Were you frightened of Daniel Roberts?
SS: He was much bigger than me. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to get into a fight with him.
PH: But you were quite happy to work for him?
PH: And you were quite happy to go to Holmesdale Street with him?
SS: Well, yes.
‘So you ditched the car’ – Prosecutor
Prosecutor Patrick Harrington QC asked why Saif Shahzad did not call Daniel Roberts to ask what was going on.
He replied: “As soon as I found out a male had passed away, I didn’t want anything to do with him.”
Shahzad said he had nothing more to do with Roberts or Christopher Griffiths, but did talk to his friend Awez Jamshaid.
He added: “We knew the obvious and right thing would be to go to the police, but we were frightened.”
Mr Harrington is now asking questions about what happened to the Audi A3.
He said: “This is the car you and he [Jamshaid] had delivered the murderers down to Holmesdale Street in. This was the getaway car. You knew it might have been captured on CCTV. So you ditched the car.”
Shahzad replied: “I just said I don’t want to be involved.”
PH: So you dumped the car.
SS: I got out of the car, yes.
‘You’re not stupid are you?’ – Prosecutor
Prosecutor Patrick Harrington (PH) now asks why he didn’t go straight to police.
PH: When you spoke to your cousin and friend, it was pretty clear what you should do? You should go to the police?
PH: But you didn’t do that. You went shopping?
Mr Harrington then continues probing him, saying that over the subsequent five days he must “got yourself into a terrible, terrible mess?”
PH: You’re not stupid are you?
SS: I’m not.
PH: You were a witness to murder. Then you discover you’re arrested on suspicion of murder. Drugs pale into insignificance, don’t they? Your college-educated brain knew there was an easy way out? You could help the police with their enquiries?
SS: I was in fear if I told the truth they would not believe me. I thought they wouldn’t believe me, I would get remanded.
Shahzad bought a PlayStation the day after the incident
Prosecutor Patrick Harrington is now questioning Shahzad on why, if he was as traumatised as he claims, he went out and bought a PlayStation the next day.
PH: The next day, you found out there had been a murder?
PH: You witnessed it?
PH: But you had nothing to do with it?
PH: It was your employer.
PH: You were appalled?
PH: So you went shopping. What did you buy?
SS: I bought a PlayStation.
PH: You didn’t have a troubled conscience about the violence, did you?
SS: I was trying to take my mind off it.
PH: You saw the police and did a runner?
SS: I did, yes.
‘So you stared at the wall and put your fingers in your ears? – Prosecutor
Asked why he didn’t immediately give an account to the police, Shahzad said: “I had never been put in a position like this in my whole entire life. I felt sick. I was traumatised. I did stay quiet and I later did regret it. But I thought it was the best thing.”
PH: You were prepared to harm your defence for a perfectly innocent explanation. You were sick and traumatised and you took the risk of harming your defence?
SS: I was fearful they wouldn’t believe me and think I was involved. I didn’t know what to do.
PH: So you stared at the wall and put your fingers in your ears?
SS: You could say that.
‘My plan was to stop the attack’ Shahzad
Prosecutor Patrick Harrington is now questioning Shahzad’s account of why he got out of the car to see what Dan Roberts and Christopher Griffiths were doing.
Asked what the sound of a glass being smashed had to do with him, he replied: “I went to see what was going on.”
PH: And you were astonished to see your pals inflicting damage on the car and the person inside?
SS: I was shocked.
PH: Let’s have a look at it.
[Plays CCTV of the incident].
PH: You could see this, could you?
Shahzad said: “My plan was to stop the attack.”
‘I no idea what was going to happen’ – Shahzad
Prosecutor Patrick Harrington QC (PH) is now asking Saif Shahzad questions.
He is playing CCTV clips of the incident.
Shahzad said when they were on Holmesdale Street, he thought they were going into Chloe Xuereb’s flat “for a spliff”.
PH: Does Daniel Roberts normally put gloves on to smoke a spliff?
SS: I wasn’t aware he had gloves on.
PH: Of course you had no idea what was going to happen?
SS: I didn’t.
PH: Did you think to say: ‘Hang on, I thought we were going for a spliff.’
SS: I wasn’t too bothered. I was high already.
PH: Are you a mind reader?
SS: I’m not, no.
PH: Then why didn’t you ask what was going on?
SS: The original plan was to drop them off, so I wasn’t too concerned.
PH: I don’t remember that being the original plan yesterday.
Shahzad says he saw Griffiths and Roberts ‘punching’ Mr Thomas
Christopher Clee QC (CC) is now asking questions on behalf of Christopher Griffiths.
Yesterday, Shahzad said he saw Roberts and Griffiths “punching” Mr Thomas.
He said he initially thought it was a “fist fight” and later realised there was a knife involved.
CC: I am going to suggest to you that Christopher Griffiths wasn’t involved in punching Malaciah Thomas?
SS: I seen all three of them together. I seen punches being exchanged by all three parties.
CC: I am suggesting that you have got that wrong. Christopher Griffiths wasn’t involved at that time?
SS: I’m just saying what I saw.
‘We were called back for a bigger than usual drop’ – Shahzad
Good morning. We’re back at Cardiff Crown Court as the trial of three defendants accused of the murder of Malaciah Thomas continues.
Defendant Saif Shahzad is back in the witness box
He will now be cross-examined by David Elias QC on behalf of Awez Jamshaid.
Yesterday, Shahzad gave evidence about Jamshaid’s role as driver.
The court heard he drove for co-defendant Daniel Roberts to deliver drugs.
Shahzad said he and Jamshaid would be “out and about” then go back to Christopher Griffiths’ flat to pick up more drugs and drop off money.
Mr Elias asked: “You would usually do more than one deal in a trip?”
Shahzad said that was correct.
The court heard they would sometimes go out for one “drop” if it was worth more money.
Shahzad said on the night of the incident, he and Jamshaid were on their way home when Roberts called them back for a “bigger than usual drop”.
Shahzad went on the run for five days
Shahzad said he went to see a friend from college and Jamshaid came along later.
Asked why he went there, he replied: “I went there because I was frightened, I was shocked.”
He said he asked the friend for advice and she said he should go to the police.
Shahzad said he went home for about three hours and then went out for a smoke.
LS: What happened when you got home?
SS: The police were at my house.
LS: What did you do?
SS: I decided to run.
SS: I didn’t want to bring trouble for my family. I was scared if I spoke to the police, they would think I was involved in this incident.
LS: Where did you go for five days?
SS: Worse, yes.
The trial has now broken for the day and will continue tomorrow.
‘I felt sick. I thought it was a fist fight’
Shahzad is continuing to recount what happened when the four defendants were back in the car.
LS: What do you see or hear?
SS: I didn’t see much, it was dark. I heard a whooshing sound. I felt like the whole atmosphere in the car was awkward. If something has been thrown out of the car…
LS: At any stage, have you seen any sort of weapons?
SS: I haven’t, no.
LS: Did you see anything in any man’s hand at all?
SS: I haven’t, no.
LS: Do you know if the window went down?
SS: I don’t.
LS: Is anything further said?
SS: No, there wasn’t. I put music back on in the car.
The court heard they drove back to Priest Road.
SS: I was intimidated by him [Roberts] telling me to get back in the car.
LS: Did you or Jamshaid get out of the car?
LS: What happens?
SS: We [Shahzad and Jamshaid] go up the lane. Away from Priest Motors. He [Jamshaid] has pulled over.
LS: What happens?
SS: He [Jamshaid] seems distressed and upset. He was shaking. He has gone to tell me he has seen Roberts get back in the car with a knife.
LS: You said he was shaking?
SS: Yes. I asked him: ‘Are you 100% sure you did see a knife?’ I ask: ‘Are you sure he has used it?’ We were assuming the male was getting punched.
LS: How did you feel?
SS: I felt sick. I thought it was a fist fight. Maybe the male wasn’t injured.
LS: By the sound of it you are pretty shook up. Where do you go after that?
SS: We’ve parked up at my house and had a smoke. I was asking him if he knew the male. We had no idea who the male was. We didn’t know anything.
LS: Were you worried?
SS: Of course I was.
LS: What about Mr Jamshaid?
SS: Of course he was. It was a massive surprise to me and himself, I can imagine. We did not expect this at all.
LS: Did you go to bed?
LS: Can you help us as to what time you got up the next day?
SS: About 1pm.
LS: Did you speak to anyone about this?
LS: Who is the first person you speak to about this?
SS: Mr Jamshaid. He phoned me. He said: ‘Have you seen WalesOnline?’
LS: What did you say?
SS: I said I haven’t. I just couldn’t believe it. That’s when it was official one of the males had a knife.
LS: So you know somebody has died?
LS: So you know you have been at the scene of something quite horrible?
LS: What do you plan to do?
SS: I met my cousin. The park I went to before to smoke a spliff.
LS: Did you talk about this subject?
LS: Why have you not stayed at the house?
SS: I wanted to speak to him freely.
LS: Where do you go?
SS: To town.
‘I have been dragged along’, says Shahzad
Saif Shahzad is still being question by his barrister Louise Sweet QC.
They are looking at various CCTV stills in the jury bundle.
Asked if he saw Chloe Xuereb on the night, he replied: “No, I didn’t.”
Ms Sweet is again asking about how they left the scene.
Shahzad said Roberts shouted as they got in the car: “F***ing drive.”
LS: How did he say it?
SS: Aggressively again. He just sounded like he wanted to go.
LS: Did Mr Jamshaid drive?
LS: How did he drive?
SS: He did drive more quickly than normal.
LS: As you have driven away at speed, is anything said at all?
SS: I did say: ‘Who the f*** was that?’
LS: How did you say it?
SS: I was shocked by what had just happened. I did not get a response. He just said: ‘Don’t worry.’
LS: How are you feeling?
SS: I was surprised, I was shocked. I did not know why they were having a fight with this male. I am upset as well. I have been dragged along.
LS: Did Mr Griffiths tell you what was going on?
SS: No, I was speaking more to Mr Roberts. He just said: ‘Don’t worry.’ That’s not an answer, is it?
Roberts ‘ran back to the car’
Ms Sweet moves on to ask questions about how they left the incident.
‘I just tried to prevent the attack’
Ms Sweet is now asking Shahzad about where people were positioned.
Defendant describes witnessing altercation
The questioning is now turning to the events in Holmesdale Street.
LS: When you got out of the car, could you see where Mr Roberts and Mr Griffiths had gone?
LS: Do you stay where you are?
‘No concern’ about what might happen
The defendant is being asked about the atmosphere among the group.
Louise Sweet QC (LS): Did anybody have any conversation that caused you any concern about what might happen at Holmesdale Street?
Shahzad said Roberts asked Jamshaid to drive them to Chloe Xuereb’s flat in Holmesdale Street.
LS: What is the plan at that stage?
‘Nothing out of the ordinary’ on night of July 22
Shahzad is now being asked about a series of phone calls made on the night of July 22.
He said one was to a customer, making arrangements for a drugs delivery.
Shahzad identified another as being Roberts asking for a lift from Jamshaid.
The court heard Shahzad and Jamshaid went back to the flat to pick up Roberts.
Ms Sweet asked: “What sort of mood did they seem to be in?”
Shahzad replied: “They seemed fine to me.”
His barrister added: “Did you notice anything out of the ordinary at all?”
The defendant said: “No.”
Drugs text sent out ‘like a menu’ for buyers
Ms Sweet is now referring to a timeline in the jury bundle.
The court heard between 8.26pm and 9.18pm Shahzad was away from Priest Road at a restaurant called La Shish in City Road.
Shahzad said he was there with Jamshaid and his cousin.
He said when he got back to Griffiths’ flat Naomi Davies was there.
The court heard Shahzad and Jamshaid went to Starbucks on the evening of July 22.
Two defendants lived with their parents, court hears
Saif Shahzad is back in the witness box and his counsel Louise Sweet QC is asking him questions.
Asked about his normal routine, he said: “We would smoke a spliff and go to Chris’ house.”
He told the court Jamshaid acted as “a driver” for Roberts, as well as dropping off drugs for him.
Roberts ‘bought car for co-defendant so he could deliver drugs’
The court heard his relationship with Roberts changed from social to him working for Roberts.
Shahzad said Roberts would take calls from customers and he [Shahzad] would deliver the drugs to people.
He said Jamshaid came to work for Roberts too because he had a driving licence.
Shahzad said he made between £50 and £80 a day delivering drugs, as did Jamshaid.
“The drugs were kept at Chris’ house,” he told the court.
Asked about the Audi A3, he said it belonged to Roberts.
He said Roberts bought the car for Jamshaid so he would be able to deliver drugs.
The court heard Roberts could not drive because he did not have a licence.
Shahzad said he was working for Roberts every day and was paid at the end of each day.
The hearing will resume at 2pm.
Met Naomi Davies two months before Mr Thomas died
Shahzad said he met Naomi Davies through Roberts about two months before the incident. He met her at Griffiths’ flat.
He first met her sister Nina Davies at his birthday party in May last year. He said they exchanged numbers and kept in touch, becoming friends.
Shahzad told the court he met Chloe Xuereb at the same time he met Naomi Davies.
Shahzad was selling cannabis ‘on the side’
Shahzad said he knows Jamshaid as a family friend, adding: “I’ve grown up knowing him.”
Asked when he first met Roberts, he said it was through a mutual friend.
He said he went to Roberts’ old flat in City Road “for a smoke”.
The court heard Roberts and Griffiths lived together last year.
Shahzad said he met Griffiths through Roberts.
The defendant said he started selling cannabis “on the side” for Roberts at the end of 2017.
The court heard that continued until he was arrested.
Defendant Saif Shahzad begins giving evidence
Saif Shahzad will now give evidence. He’s 19.
He then went to Cardiff and Vale College and did a car body repair course.
“I’ve always had an interest in cars,” he said.
Shahzad said he had a part-time job at his uncle’s car wash.
He finished his college course when he was 17 and started working full-time at the car wash.
The court heard he then worked at a kebab takeaway.
“I planned on enrolling back at college for another course.”
He was not able to enrol at college again because of his arrest.
“I was trying to look for another job while I was at the restaurant.
“I tried to find employment but I could not find any further employment.
“I was filling out applications, asking if anyone needed any help. I did try my best.
“I felt like I wasn’t able to get another job.”
He said he felt “stressed out” by not being able to get a job.
“As a result I ended up smoking a lot more cannabis than I normally did.”
He said he started smoking cannabis when he was at college.
Shahzad said by mid-July he was smoking 30 “spliffs” a day.
He said he was buying cannabis from Roberts, who asked him if he would like to make some money by selling.
The case has resumed
The jury have just come back into the courtroom and junior prosecutor Leighton Hughes is going to take them through the agreed facts of the case.
Unfortunately we are having a few technical difficulties with our connection from court at the moment but we’ll be back to providing detailed updates as soon as possible – please bear with us.
Daniel Roberts changes his plea and admits murder
The jury have just come into the courtroom.
Daniel Roberts is going to be re-arraigned on the murder count.
Roberts pleads guilty to murder.
He is in the jury’s charge, so they will still have to find him guilty.
Mrs Justice Nerys Jefford is asking one of the jurors to act as foreman.
Roberts is found guilty of murder. He will be sentenced after the trial has concluded.
The judge said his plea should not affect the jury’s decisions on the other defendants.
There will now be another short break.
Witness Sarah Maggs: ‘I heard a groaning sound, as if someone had been hit’
The next witness is Sarah Maggs. She lives on Corporation Road. She said she was woken up by shouting in the early hours of July 23 last year.
“I heard some footsteps running and then I heard somebody shout something offensive,” she said.
Asked to clarify, she replied: “It was something like: ‘Come hear you f***ing p****’ or something like that.
“Then I heard a groaning sound, as if someone had been hit.
“And then I heard a car drive away. It seemed to drive away quite quickly.
“Then I heard knocking outside the house, then two men talking and a dog barking.”
Ms Maggs said she went back to sleep, then was woken by blue lights flashing outside.
“I saw lots of police and activity and ambulance crews doing CPR on somebody, but I couldn’t see who it was.”
That is the end of her evidence.
The hearing will resume at 10.30am on Monday.
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