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Accused 'did not see crash impact'
3:45pm Friday 6th July 2012 in News
A front seat passenger in a car which hit and killed three men during last summer’s riots has told a court he did not see the moment of impact.
Everton Graham, who denies three counts of murder, told jurors he had his head between his knees to protect himself from bricks and other missiles when the victims were struck in Winson Green, Birmingham.
The 30-year-old also told the city’s Crown Court he did not realise anyone had been hit by the car and initially thought a slab had struck his friend’s Mazda as it passed a crowd armed with a variety of weapons.
Asked to describe his actions as the Mazda drove towards the crowd, Graham told jurors: “I put my head down, down between my knees underneath the dash.
”I knew the crowd was getting ready to throw things at the car.
”I just felt a big bang - I thought somebody had thrown something at the car, like a slab or something on the window.”
Graham, of no fixed address, and seven co-defendants deny murdering Haroon Jahan, 20, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, in the early hours of August 10.
The prosecution alleges that the three men were the victims of a deliberate and co-ordinated “chariot charge” involving the Mazda and two other cars near a petrol station on Dudley Road. The incident was captured on CCTV, the court has been told.
Under cross-examination from prosecutor Timothy Spencer QC, Graham denied that he had changed his story to protect his co-defendants.
Describing the prosecution’s case as “utter rubbish”, Graham told the court: “They have not done anything wrong - there is no need for me to protect them.
”I put my head down to save myself from getting hit by a brick.
”I heard a bang and didn’t know what it was - I didn’t believe it until I actually saw it on the video in the police station.”
During his evidence, the father-of-one said he was not conscious of an Audi and a Ford Fiesta which are alleged to have drawn pedestrians into the road.
Dismissing the Crown’s claim that the three vehicles carried out a plan after coming together in a nearby side street, Graham told Mr Spencer: “I don’t know these people.
”I have never met them in my life - you have put us all in jail and charged us with murder.”
Earlier in the trial, the driver of the Mazda, 30-year-old Ian Beckford, denied deliberately driving into the victims.
Beckford, of Holly Bush Grove, Quinton, Birmingham, told the court he was good friends with Mr Musavir and Mr Ali and had not intended to knock down, kill or seriously harm any member of the crowd.