Three teenagers deny murder in trial over killing of Kempston grandad

Sharif Demirsay.
Sharif Demirsay.

A grandfather was stabbed to death when he opened his front door to three teenagers who pushed their way into his bungalow in Kempston to steal cash and gold jewellery, a court heard.

As 65-year-old Sharif Demirsay lay on the floor in the hallway, it’s alleged his attackers, with their hoods up to obscure their faces, repeatedly stabbed him and inflicted a fatal wound to his heart.

Prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff QC said: “His partner describes how all three were shouting ‘kill him!’ and jumping up and down like animals. It was as if they were encouraging each other to kill him.”

The court was told that when the 69-year-old woman tried to defend Sharif by hitting one of the youths with a vacuum cleaner pipe, he stabbed her in the arm.

The three teenagers, along with a fourth youth who was waiting outside the property in Kempston near Bedford as a “lookout,” were said to have have gone to the couple’s home last May intent on stealing “Asian gold.”

Shortly before the killing, three of the accused, Travis Dixon-Charles, 18, Courtney Glynn, 19, and a 17 year old youth who can’t be named for legal reasons, were alleged to have been huddled together in a smoking shelter at Bedford College where they were on the same course, talking excitedly about “a load of gold in Kempston.”

Miss Bickerstaff said two weeks before the murder, Travis Dixon-Charles sent a message on Facebook to a friend asking him if he wanted to “do a move” - a slang term for a robbery.

When asked what it involved, the defendant is alleged to have replied “Run in to a house and take gold and cash.”

Luton crown court was told today (Thursday) that Mr Demirsay, a retired chef and father of seven, was stabbed a total of 11 times.

The fatal wound was to his left chest area, which entered the pericardium and penetrated the left ventricle of the heart.

He also had wounds to his hands indicating he had tried to defend himself,

Mr Demirsay lived with his partner of over 20 years in an end of terrace bungalow in Vineyard Way, Kempston.

The prosecutor said the concrete area to the side of his property was a popular congregation point for local youths and the victim was a smoker who regularly went outside his home for a cigarette.

The jury were told a council CCTV camera close to the deceased’s home caught Mr Dixon-Charles near the house minutes before the attack.

Moments later three males were caught entering the small cul de sac.

Three minutes later the same three males were seen running away.

The prosecution claim it was in this three minute period that the killing took place.

The jury was told that one resident in Vineyard Way had left his home after 9pm and saw three males close to the bungalow looking through a window.

In the dock Mr Dixon-Charles, Courtney Glynn, the 17 year old and a 16 year old youth who can’t be identified for legal reasons, all plead not guilty to the murder of Mr Demirsay on the evening of May 14 last year.

Mr Dixon-Charles, Mr Glynn and the 17-year-old all plead not guilty to aggravated burglary.

All four teenagers deny unlawfully wounding Mr Demirsay’s partner, who trial judge Mr Justice Singh has directed should not be identified.

Finally, Mr Glynn pleads not guilty to intimidation and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

The judge has directed that the addresses of Mr Dixon-Charles and Mr Glynn should not be published at this stage of the trial.

Miss Bickerstaff QC, in her outline of the prosecution’s case, told the jury: “Three of them entered the house and one remained outside. The three who entered were armed with knives. Their intent was plainly stated; they wanted gold and cash that they believed was in the premises.”

She went on “The three stabbed Mr Demirsay to death and one of them stabbed his partner in the arm causing a nasty wound when she intervened to try to help Mr Demirsay.”

It was the Crown’s case, said Miss Bickerstaff, that the defendant Mr Dixon-Charles had remained outside the bungalow as “lookout.”

The court was told that, on the evening he was killed, the victim had been feeling unwell and was in bed watching Turkish television.

But around 9.30pm there was a loud knocking at the door and he told his partner he would get it.

The prosecutor told the jury Mr Demirsay’s partner saw three males come through the door as Sharif tried to push it shut.

“She could see that all three were carrying long silver knives. One of the three was taller than the other two and she saw that almost immediately he stabbed Sharif with his knife. She could hear ‘Where’s the gold, where’s the money.’

“She could see Sharif being repeatedly stabbed by two or three knives. He was being held down and she saw that he was being stabbed in the front and in the back of his body. They were also kicking him,” she told the court.

Miss Bickerstaff went on “She was ordered to go into her bedroom and stay put, but instead she opened the cupboard and got out the pipe-hose of her vacuum cleaner.”

The court was told that after the woman struck one of the attackers with it, she was stabbed and threatened that she would be killed.

Money and jewellery, said Miss Bickerstaff, was taken from the woman’s handbag and the three then ran off.

The alarm was raised and Mr Demirsay was rushed by ambulance to hospital.

But at 10.35 that night he was pronounced dead.

His partner had two stab wounds to her left forearm.

Miss Bickerstaff said: “The prosecution’s case in relation to the events in the house is that these were joint enterprise offences. We say the group of four embarked together on committing a burglary in the hope of gaining money and jewellery. The burglary is aggravated because the perpetrators were armed with knives when they entered.”

She added: “It matters not what particular role each of the four took, e.g. one remained outside as a lookout and only one actually emptied the handbag. They were in it together and are all in law equally responsible. Similarly, if knives are carried, and each participant knows or believes that at least one knife is carried, then they are in law responsible for the consequences if those knives are used.”

The jury were told that following the stabbing, Courtney Glynn had quizzed the youth he had invited over Facebook to take part in a robbery, about whether he had spoken to anyone about the murder.

Miss Bickerstaff told the court it took place on a bridge over the river at Great Denham.

She said “Courtney said there was a snitch involved and the youth denied it was him. At this point Courtney showed him a black drawstring bag.

“He let him feel it and the youth could clearly feel a gun inside. Courtney took out the gun, took out a magazine and showed him four bullets in it. He said ‘This is what happens to snitches,’ and fired off a shot across the river. This had the desired effect of making the boy scared.”

Case proceeding