Teenager on trial accused of murdering man during cannabis burglary at house in Leeds

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

A man died after a teenager struck him across the head with a baseball bat during a burglary at his home, a murder trial heard.

A jury was told Clifford Amoh, 29, died as a result of the injuries inflicted by Declan Bickerdike during the incident in which a gang targeted the property in Leeds in order to steal cannabis plants.

Leeds Crown Court heard Bickerdike and four other men kicked their way into the property on Coldcotes Crescent, Gipton, at 2am after planning the raid.

The group had met up before the incident, May 7 this year, to plan the burglary.

Tahir Khan, QC, prosecuting, said: “This burglary was carefully planned. However, the best laid plans do not always follow the script.”

The court heard four of the men, carrying bin bags, went upstairs in search of the plants while Bickerdike remained downstairs.

Mr Khan said it was likely that Mr Amoh was laid on a settee in the lounge when Bickerdike used a baseball bat to strike heavy blows to the head.

The prosecutor said: “The predictable consequence of that unprovoked violence, says the Crown, is that Clifford was left with serious head injuries and later died despite being rushed to hospital.”

He added: “The prosecution say that at the very least, when Declan Bickerdike launched this violent assault on Clifford Amoh, he intended to cause really serious physical injury, even if his intention was not to kill him. That is murder according to the law of this country.”

The jury was told Bickerdike and the four other men have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.

Bickerdike, 18, of High Ash Crescent, Alwoodley, pleads not guilty to murder.

Mr Khan said Bickerdike now claims that he caused the injuries while acting in self defence when Mr Amoh came at him with a sword.

He told the jury: “The prosecution say he is simply lying about that in order to justify the killing of this man in what the prosecution say was an unprovoked attack.”

The jury was told Bickerdike and the four other men ran from the property with the plants and failed to get help for Mr Amoh.

Mr Amoh was found laying on the settee with head injuries beside a pool of blood a short time later by his friend.

Emergency services were contacted and a telephone operator gave instructions to try to resuscitate Mr Amoh as he was not breathing.

Paramedics took him to Leeds General Infirmary but he was pronounced dead soon after reaching hospital.

The jury was told Mr Amoh moved to the UK from Ghana in 2004 and was known to his friends as ‘Pappi’. Mr Khan said his friends described him as “sociable and placid.”

He was a regular user of cannabis and grew a small number of cannabis plants in the upstairs rooms of the house.

The trial continues