TWO teenagers accused of killing a promising young footballer who died after being stabbed in Coventry have appeared in separate hearings at Warwick Crown Court.
The two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named because of their ages, have been charged with the murder of Ramani Morgan, from Erdington, Birmingham.
A passer-by alerted the emergency services after finding 16-year-old Ramani collapsed from a stab wound in Clay Lane in the Stoke area of Coventry late at night on Saturday February 9.
Ramani, said to have had ‘the potential of becoming a professional footballer,’ was rushed to hospital, but died from his injuries, despite the efforts of medical staff.
The two teenagers charged with his murder appeared in separate hearings at Warwick Crown Court – where they were told they will stand trial in September.
First to appear via a video link from the young offender institute where he is on remand was a 17-year-old from Coventry.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC explained that both young men had been due to attend over video links – but that facility did not exist at the secure training centre to which the second youth had been taken.
And after being remanded in custody by magistrates, he had arrived ‘so late that the matter was not processed in such a way that transport was available’ to get him to the crown court in time.
As the hearing went ahead with just the Coventry youth in attendance, his barrister Antonie Muller expressed concern that someone had taken a picture of the court list on which the two defendants’ names appeared.
The person had been ordered to delete the picture, but Judge Lockhart stressed: “If they publish that, they will commit an offence and be punishable in law.
“I will make it absolutely clear that there must be no publication of the names.
“No photographs must be taken at all, and any publication of any name of anybody who may be a witness or an accused who is under the age of 18 will not be allowed and will be a criminal offence.”
Dealing with the case itself, prosecutor Michael Burrows QC said: “Both this defendant and [the absent 17-year-old] are charged with the murder of Ramani Morgan on the 29th of February.”
Judge Lockhart said that because a trial he had been due to hear would now be before a High Court judge, he could hear the trial of the two 17-year-olds beginning on September 1.
Asked if he could consider other dates, he stressed that was ‘the only date available within the custody time limit’ – the period within which a person in custody has to be tried unless an extension is granted.
The judge asked whether there was any application for bail, but Mr Muller responded: “Not today.”
So he adjourned the case for trial, with a plea and trial preparation hearing to take place on April 6, and told the youth: “Your trial will take place on the 1st of September.
“You will be here on the 6th of April when you will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty to an indictment which will allege murder. In the meantime I am remanding you in custody.”
Later in the day, having been brought to court, the second defendant, who is from Birmingham, appeared in the dock for a brief hearing.
The hearing dates were again outlined, and Rebecca Wade, defending, said: “There is no application for bail today.”
So Judge Lockhart adjourned his case for him to appear with his co-defendant for the hearing on April 6 – and remanded him in custody.