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18-year-old who was stabbed to death 'recited Muslim prayer for the dying' after he was attacked

A witness told a trial that Azzam Raguragui spoke Arabic after he was stabbed in Dundrum last year.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

AN 18-YEAR-OLD recited a Muslim prayer for the dying after he had been stabbed in a Dublin park by another teenager, a murder trial has heard.

The deceased’s friend today gave evidence in the trial of a 17-year-old who has admitted killing but pleaded not guilty to the murder of Azzam Raguragui (18) during a melee among teenagers in Finsbury Park in Dundrum on 10 May last year.

The witness told prosecution counsel James Dwyer SC that after witnessing Azzam Raguragui being stabbed multiple times he phoned an ambulance and used his shirt in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

He could hear his friend speaking Arabic, he said, repeating a line that is said by Muslims when they are dying.

The teenager told Dwyer that he had spent that day with friends in Dundrum.

They were all fasting as it was Ramadan and while they were in Finsbury Park they were approached by another group that included the accused.

They spent about 15 minutes talking with the other group without any problems, he said.

The witness said goodbye to his friends and was leaving the park when he saw a fight break out between the two groups.

He didn’t know what had been said but he told counsel he saw a member of the accused’s group punch either the deceased or another friend.

The whole group started fighting, he said, and he ran towards them and saw Raguragui running up a hill with the accused chasing him.

He said he saw his friend slip and fall on his back while the accused stood above him and used a knife, possibly a flick knife, to strike him.

He also said Raguragui tried to kick the accused away while lying on his back.

The witness said he ran towards his friend and the accused was “still over him trying to go for another shot, trying to lean in with the knife to hit him again.”

He said the accused then swung the knife at the rest of the group before running away.

Made up story

Under cross examination the boy told Michael Bowman SC for the accused that he initially lied to gardaí at the scene.

He said that while he and two of his friends were waiting for gardaí to arrive, they made up a story that three Irish “junkies” tried to rob Raguragui before stabbing him.

He further agreed that the three talked later that evening about the false story at a mosque and agreed to lie to gardaí when giving a statement later that night.

He said he gave a true statement on 13 May, three days after the stabbing.

The witness further accepted that he could be seen handing a knife to another youth on a bicycle shortly after the fatal fight.

He told Bowman that the knife belonged to him and had been hidden in a bush in the park some time before.

He said he did not have the knife on him during the fight but went to retrieve it afterwards and told his friend on the bike to throw it away.

He denied that he had it during the fight. He also said that he was wearing gloves at the time because he has a “hand problem” whereby his hands get cold.

Accused ‘hostile’

Two teenage girls told counsel for the prosecution that the accused was acting in a “hostile” and “aggressive” manner earlier on the evening of the fatal stabbing.

The first witness said she was in Dundrum Shopping Centre at about 7.30pm with two friends, one female and one male, when she saw the accused with a group of other youths walking by.

Her male friend said that the accused was looking at them in a “hostile way” and said: “I hope he doesn’t come over and get cheeky with us.”

The witness said that in her opinion the accused was standing in “quite an aggressive manner. It looked like he had an issue.”

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The group, including the accused, walked over and the accused asked the witnesses’ male friend for his name. When her friend revealed his name the accused walked away with his friends, she said.

The second witness told counsel that she was with the previous witness in Dundrum Shopping Centre and remembered the accused and five other boys walking past.

“They were hanging around and looking back up at us and walked towards us,” she said.

She remembered the accused asking her male friend for his name in what she said was “quite a rough way.”

She added: “He looked like he was about to go for him in a hostile way.” When her friend told him his name the accused walked away, she said.

Received text message

Under cross examination the witness told counsel that the accused did not move towards her friend but her impression was that he asked for her friend’s name in a “rough kind of way”.

She agreed that the accused did not “step into his personal space” and that although she was between the two boys with her back turned to the accused she did not move out of the way.

She further agreed that she wasn’t overly concerned when she received a text message shortly after that incident saying that Raguragui had been stabbed because he had been stabbed before.

“I didn’t know where he had been stabbed,” she said. She found out about 10.30pm that night that he was dead.

She disagreed with the suggestion that it was with the benefit of hindsight that she was now saying that the accused acted in a menacing and aggressive way.

When shown CCTV from the shopping centre showing the incident, which counsel said showed that the accused doesn’t appear to be acting in a threatening manner, she said that her impression was formed “just from the way he was talking”.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six men and six women.

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Eoin Reynolds

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