Jury considers verdict in Daniel Kennell murder trial - The Coventry Observer

15th Aug, 2022

Jury considers verdict in Daniel Kennell murder trial

Editorial Correspondent 23rd Jan, 2019 Updated: 23rd Jan, 2019

The jury has retired to begin considering its verdicts in the trial of a Coventry man whose friend was killed by a single stab wound by him during a confrontation near the victim’s home.

Ryan Preston (27) of Hermitage Road, Coventry, has pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the murder of 27-year-old Daniel Kennell during the incident in July last year.

With him in the dock is his mother Tracey Preston (54) of the same address, who has denied a charge of assisting an offender knowing or believing him to be guilty of murder.

The jury has heard that on that Sunday there had been a fight between the two men, who had been friends since school, in Caludon Castle park.

Mr Kennell then left to walk back to his home in St Austell Road, Coventry, while Preston phoned his mother, who was out shopping at the time, asking her to bring his spare car key.

It was said that Mr Kennell, referred to as Danny, had taken his key, and when his mother arrived, Preston asked her to drive him to Danny’s home to retrieve the key.

When they arrived Preston, ‘in a rage,’ went to Danny’s home and began shouting for him to come out – but got no response because he had not got back, said prosecutor John Butterfield QC.

On getting no response, he threw something at one of the windows, then threw a paving slab at the windscreen of Mr Kennell’s car, which splintered but did not smash completely.

As he was doing that, Danny arrived back in the street and was confronted by Tracey Preston who demanded her son’s car key, which she told the jury during the trial Danny handed over.

“At some point after Daniel Kennell’s interaction with her, the two young men have seen each other there on St Austell’s Road and their argument immediately started up again. It quickly came to blows,” said Mr Butterfield.

“But Ryan Preston was not prepared at this point to have any sort of fair fight, perhaps mindful of how he’d been put on the ground earlier on back in the park.

“At this stage, the defendant was indeed armed with a knife, and he lashed out with that knife at least once.

“It was a single stab wound – but that was all that Ryan Preston needed. The wound was on the left lower chest. It was deep enough to penetrate Mr Kennell’s heart, as well as to cause damage internally to both the stomach and the spleen.”

Having fatally injured Mr Kennell, he returned to his mother’s car, got in and asked her to drive away, which she did.

“Even in those circumstances she was prepared to continue to help him regardless. She drove him away from the scene where he had stabbed a man, a 27 year old who lay dying on the pavement even as she did so,” added Mr Butterfield.

Giving evidence, Ryan Preston said he and Danny were best friends who would spend time together drinking and taking cocaine.

On the morning of the stabbing they argued at the park, and that Danny had ‘pretended’ to hit him and had then walked off with his keys, taunting him with them.

He said he thought he would be attacked by Danny, so went towards him and they clashed, and Danny put him to the ground before also taking his phone and walking away.

Preston said that after his mother picked him up, she drove him to St Austell Road where he felt frustrated over what had happened and damaged the window and the car.

He said that as he and Danny approached each-other in the street, he could see anger in Danny’s face, so out of instinct he took the knife from his pocket and opened it.

He said he had pulled it out ‘as a scare tactic,’ and had held it in front of him, but that Danny ‘flew straight into me’ and began punching him, so he started swinging back at him.

Asked by his barrister Andrew Smith QC whether he was aware of using the knife, he replied: “No, it must have been one of the punches I threw.”

Preston said Danny then made a noise and grabbed his side, but he only realised he had been stabbed when he took some steps to the side and then fell to the ground.

He denied deliberately killing Mr Kennell, and said that after he realised what had happened, he froze before then putting the knife away and running back to his mother’s car.

He said he told her to drive, but did not tell her what had happened, and Tracey Preston also told the court she was not aware he had stabbed Mr Kennell when she drove him away.

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