Rap star claims he picked up bottle to defend himself during fatal brawl

Pa Salieu told jurors he had been drinking brandy and shots before violence erupted outside a music event.

11 March 2022

Award-winning rapper Pa Salieu has told a jury he smashed and brandished a bottle to defend himself during a brawl which saw his best friend stabbed to death.

Salieu, 24, said he had been “sipping” brandy and Jagermeister and had chased a man across a ring road to disarm him, believing he had a knife.

Prosecutors allege Salieu was guilty of violent disorder when he joined a group that chased and cornered a man during violence which led to the death of Fidel Glasgow.

Warwick Crown Court has heard that Salieu and three other defendants are not charged with any offence arising from the death of the 21-year-old in Coventry city centre in 2018.

Neville Staple grandson murder
Rapper Pa Salieu arriving at a previous hearing (Jacob King/PA)

The singer and his co-defendants, 25-year-olds Michael Mistouflet, Meidel Dange and Adil Naseer, deny taking part in violent disorder in Junction Street and Hertford Place 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 in the same streets, 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, Ikemefuna Okosisi-Ezeanyika, escaped across Coventry’s ring road and made his way into Queen Victoria Road.

Addressing the jury on Friday from the witness box, Salieu was taken through frame-by-frame CCTV footage showing Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika being chased at about 5am on September 1 2018, as around 300 people left Club M following a performance by Nigerian-born singer Mr Eazi.

Appearing in court under his full name of Pa Salieu Gaye, the rapper said of Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika: “I just saw him walking back. At this point everyone is shouting.”

Claiming he heard Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika say “I have got something for you, you think you are bad”, Salieu added: “At this point I believed he had a knife.

“My intention for hitting that bottle (on the ground) was to warn him off.

“At this point I thought he had been given something – I was just thinking the worst.”

Answering questions from his barrister, Jonathan Woodcock, Salieu claimed he and a large number of others had chased Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika to disarm him after someone said: “He’s got a shank.”

“I just followed to disarm him. That’s what I believed,” Salieu said.

The court heard the bottle was taken from Salieu by security staff before the chase, which was caught on CCTV as it headed towards Coventry’s inner ring road.

Salieu said he had bent down to pick up a second bottle and was unaware that Mr Glasgow had been stabbed until after the incident.

Explaining his decision to pick up a second bottle, Salieu continued: “I had nothing to defend myself with, at this point I still think he had a knife.

“I just threw the bottle towards his direction.”

Asked by Mr Woodcock if there had been any prospect of the bottle hitting Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika, Salieu responded: “I was sipping Hennessy. It was a stupid thing. I just threw the bottle towards his direction.”

The court heard Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika, who later underwent successful emergency surgery for a stab wound to his abdomen, was “bottled” in Queen Victoria Road.

Salieu, who admits violent disorder in relation to the events in Queen Victoria Road, said he had struck Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika with a stick before noticing he was not armed with a weapon.

Telling jurors that he had then tried to stop someone else striking Mr Okosisi-Ezeanyika with a bottle, Salieu added: “I realised he didn’t have a knife and that’s when I stopped.”

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.

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