"I'm struggling to breathe," the last words of stabbed Dele

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

"I'M struggling to breathe." Those were the last words said by teenager Dele Little after he was stabbed through the heart during a fight, a court was told yesterday.

His desperate plea was heard by a 13-year-old boy who told jurors at Winchester Crown Court how Dele had tried to get up off the ground where he had collapsed, bleeding heavily.

The boy was giving evidence in the case against 21-year-old Aaron Roche who is accused of murdering 15-year-old Dele by stabbing him once in the chest.

Through a video link the court watched a recorded interview which the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave to police the afternoon after Dele died.

As previously reported, Roche is said to have run to the West Totton Centre on hearing that his girlfriend Kayleigh Shinn had been "hurt" by Dele when she went with a friend to buy cigarettes.

Witnesses told Winchester Crown Court how Roche arrived on the scene, locally known as "the bullring" where he was shouting that he would "stab and kill" the teen.

The fracas moved to outside the Forest Gate dentist and doctors' surgery where Roche stabbed Dele as the pair fought.

In interview the boy told officers: "She (Kayleigh) told Aaron that Dele Little had beat her. She had been drinking, she was a bit drunk."

The court then heard the boy recalling Roche saying to Miss Shinn "Once I get hold of him I'm going to stab him and kill him."

He told defence barrister Tim Mousley QC that Roche had appeared "angry and aggressive" and he could tell that by his tone of voice.

Describing how he ran down an alleyway to the dentist surgery when he heard shouting and a fight taking place, the boy added: "I saw Dele stumble back and sit down against the wall. I was trying to calm Dele down."

He said Roche was also on the floor, lying against the fence and bleeding from his eye. Another boy was heard to shout: "You stabbed him, I'm going to get you."

Asked again about what was happening to Dele, the boy said: "I saw him stumble back, fall on the floor and lie down. People were shouting 'he's been stabbed, he's been stabbed'. I could see blood, just blood. There was a lot. He said 'I'm struggling to breathe', he tried standing up but fell back on the floor."

The youngster said he stayed with Dele for about five minutes before he went to the end of the road to wait for an ambulance. He rang his dad and later called Dele's mum Angie and told her what had happened.

The 13-year-old was one of three people who gave evidence by specialist video link yesterday - the second day of the trial.

A 15-year-old girl told how as Dele lay fighting for his life on the ground a boy, one of Dele's friends, had taken her mobile phone and filmed three short video clips and taken pictures.

Asked about them by Mr Mousley she said she had deleted them when she got home and realised, because she didn't want to see them.

The girl had also been at the centre with friends when the trouble flared between Dele and Kayleigh Shinn.

Jurors heard how the girl, who was 14 at the time, remembered Miss Shinn telling Dele "my boyfriend's not going to be happy with you" and shouting "my boyfriend will come down and kill him" but she didn't take what she was saying seriously.

Asked about the argument, she said Dele and his friends had been calling Miss Shinn and her 17-year-old friend "emo's" - a way of describing how someone dresses - before the stabbing on the night of Saturday, February 3.

The third witness was another teenage girl who broke down in tears as she told of the moment she saw stab victim Dele Little collapsed on the floor.

Jurors watched as the 15-year-old began to sob as she recalled how she saw the boy on the floor surrounded by his friends.

Speaking about the argument between Dele and Miss Shinn, the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: "It was verbal for quite a while but then it got a bit physical" adding that it lasted for about three minutes.

She said: "The girl (Kayleigh Shinn) started to get really angry and she walked off to get a plank of wood. She was warning him not to say anything else or touch her because she would hit him with it and he said 'don't be silly. You're not going to do that'.

"She went to sling the plank of wood to hit Dele and Dele reached out and slung the wood and she hit the floor.

"She was crying and she said 'you are not going to get away with this, how could you chuck me on the floor?'"

The court was told that Dele's friend took the piece of wood and threw it away while a girl got her phone out and made a call.

"I just remember that there was a bit more arguing. She (Kayleigh) was getting really angry with Dele. He was just taking the mickey saying 'don't be stupid what are you going on about'."

The girl told the court how she remained sat down when a man came along who looked "really, really angry." Recalling what happened next she said: "He said 'why have you opened your mouth for? Point him out to me now.' "He was just shouting and just shaking a lot and just looking really angry."

Jurors heard how the girl then remembered seeing people running out of the community centre and into the car park.

She said: "We followed around to see what was going on. We walked around to outside the dentist and we just saw lots of people crowding around.

"A few were rushing around and a few were in a circle looking down at something."

Judge Guy Boney then ordered the court to adjourn briefly as the girl began crying. When the court resumed the girl told prosecuting barrister Christopher Parker QC that it was Dele on the ground.

Asked by defence barrister Tim Mousley QC what else was happening at the scene she said there was "lots of talking going on" and that people were using their mobile phones to make calls.

Aaron Roche, 21, of Ringwood Road, Lyndhurst, denies murder.

The case continues.

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