Award-winning rapper Pa Salieu was allegedly armed with a bottle and chased a man during a violent mass brawl outside a music event that saw his best friend fatally stabbed, a court has heard.
Warwick Crown Court heard that the British artist and three other defendants were not charged with any offence arising from the death of 21-year-old Fidel Glasgow in Coventry city centre in 2018.
Mr Glasgow, who is the grandson of The Specials singer Neville Staple, was knifed in the stomach during an ugly brawl outside Coventry’s Club M four years ago. No one has been charged in connection with his death.
Salieu, 24, was today accused of taking part in violent disorder and possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon in relation to an ‘serious’ attack on Ikemefuna Okosisi-Ezeanyika that left the clubber fighting for his life. He denies both charges.
Video evidence purportedly shows the British artist hitting Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika over the head with a bottle in Queen Victoria Road. Prosecutors said they did not know why so many people were involved in the ‘serious and obviously tragic’ mass brawl.
Salieu and his three co-defendants, 25-year-olds Michael Mistouflet, Meidel Dange and Adil Naseer, deny taking part in violent disorder during which Mr Glasgow was fatally injured.
Salieu, the winner of the BBC’s Sound of 2021 award, also denies possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon, while Mistouflet denies possessing a belt as an offensive weapon.
Jurors were told Salieu, Mistouflet and Naseer have all admitted a separate charge relating to violent disorder which occurred after the man being chased, Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika, escaped across Coventry’s ring road during the incident.
Award-winning rapper Pa Salieu, 24, (above, outside Warwick Crown Court on Tuesday) denies taking part in violent disorder and attacking another man with a bottle during an incident which saw the star’s ‘best friend’ stabbed to death in Coventry city centre in 2018
Salieu and three other defendants were present at the scene of a mass brawl which took place outside Club M (pictured) in Coventry in 2018
Fidel Glasgow, 21, was knifed in the stomach during a violent brawl which erupted outside Coventry nightclub ‘Club M’ in September 2018
Salieu, whose full name is Pa Salieu Gaye, is signed with Warner Records and was last year nominated in the BRIT Awards’ rising star category.
Following Mr Glasgow’s stabbing in 2018, the rapper shared a post on Instagram that said his ‘close friend was taken from us well before his time’.
Salieu added that he was ‘engaging with the justice system’, adding: ‘Please be sensitive to the fact that a real family like yours has lost a loved one. RIP AP.’
Opening the case for the Crown on Tuesday, prosecutor Oliver Weetch said Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika was chased at about 5am on September 1, 2018, as around 300 people left Club M following a performance by Nigerian-born singer Mr Eazi.
During the Crown’s opening against Salieu, who is standing trial under his full name of Pa Salieu Gaye, it was alleged that video evidence appeared to show him hitting Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika over the head with a bottle in Queen Victoria Road.
Mr Weetch said the Crown did not know why Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika, known as Bobby, and so many other people became involved in the ‘serious and obviously tragic’ incident.
The music event finished without any serious incident but violence erupted outside the nightclub, the court heard.
Mr Weetch said: ‘Bobby, it appears, became the centre of attention for a large group of loosely connected males.’
Describing CCTV footage of Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika being cornered near a car, the barrister added: ‘At that point there are so many people involved that it is impossible to see what exactly happens.
‘During the course of what happened by the white Vauxhall, Fidel Glasgow received a single stab wound to the lower part of his abdomen.
‘He can be seen staggering away from the car – he very sadly died that same day of that stab wound.
‘Despite an extensive police investigation it has not been possible to charge anyone in connection with the death.
‘The CCTV footage is simply too unclear to determine precisely how Fidel Glasgow was fatally injured.
‘The four defendants, it must be emphasised, are not charged with any offence arising from Fidel Glasgow’s death. At least some of them are Fidel Glasgow’s direct friends.
‘What these defendants are charged with is the violent disorder which broke out that night.
‘The prosecution say it (CCTV evidence) shows each of these defendants using or threatening unlawful violence.’
After the brawl (pictured: CCTV of the incident) 21-year-old Fidel Glasgow was found injured at the rear of the nightclub and was rushed to hospital – where he later died
Fidel’s grandfather Neville, who was a front man in the 1970s ska band The Specials, later appealed for witnesses to come forward with information
Mr Weetch said CCTV showed Salieu had visited a different club earlier with a group of people including Mr Glasgow.
The footage showed Salieu attacking a section of fencing near Club M and then attempting to smash a bottle on the ground, the court heard.
Mr Weetch said: ‘Immediately before the confrontation with Bobby in Junction Street, Mr Gaye had been walking about holding a bottle.
‘He is in fact restrained by some security staff.
‘Mr Gaye gives chase with many others. He appears to bend down during the course of the violence that happens.
‘We say he is clearly present when violence is being used and threatened.’
Following his arrest, the court heard, Salieu told police Mr Glasgow was his best friend and then exercised his right to silence.
Salieu, of Hillfields, Mistouflet, of Binley, Dange, of Henley Green, and Naseer, of Foleshill, all Coventry, have been told their trial is expected to last for up to four weeks.