Dead 18-year-old’s friend blames victim’s ex-girlfriend for murder4 min read

Jay Sewell, 18, was fatally stabbed by his girlfriend's jealous ex-lover and his family

Jay Sewell, 18, was fatally stabbed by his girlfriend’s jealous ex-lover and his family

A teenager stabbed to death by his girlfriend’s jealous ex-lover and his family had only known her for two days, a court heard today.

Jay Sewell, 18, was fatally stabbed in Lee, South East London, allegedly by a nine-strong group including Daniel ‘Joe’ Grogan, 20, after Gemma Hodder started seeing the teenager.

Grogan spread his ‘poison’ to friends and members of his ‘close-knit family’ who were ‘armed to the teeth’ when they set about Mr Sewell on December 11 last year, the Old Bailey was told.

The weapons they wielded allegedly included knives, baseball bats and a four-foot long fireman’s axe.

Grogan, along with parents Robert, 57, and Ann, 54, siblings Peter, 22, and Francesca, 29, cousin Liam Hickey, 19, a 16-year-old boy who cannot be named, Francesca’s boyfriend Jamie Bennett, 31 and another man, Charlie Dudley, 25, all deny Mr Sewell’s murder.

Jurors have heard Daniel Grogan sent Ms Hodder a flurry of messages in the days leading up to the killing, warning: ‘I swear on everything he’s a dead man Gemma’.

Jack Gunther, a friend of the victim, told the court Ms Hodder ‘was the cause of all this’ during his evidence.

Dean George, QC, defending Daniel Grogan, asked Mr Gunther: ‘You thought the fight was pathetic, yes?’

Mr Gunther replied: ‘I did think it was stupid. It was pointless – it was over a girl.’

‘Why would you fight over a girl you had only known for two days?,’ he added.

Mr Gunther blamed Ms Hodder for Jay’s death and told the court: ‘Gemma: she was the one who wanted to go to Grove Park and sort this out. She was fuming. 

‘She’s the cause of all of this. She was saying ‘I hate that man (Grogan), I despise him, he’s a sick human being’.’

Mr Gunther added: ‘It was not gang related, it was over a woman’.

The court has heard Ms Hodder drove to Daniel Grogan’s house with Mr Sewell and some friends. They had planned to sort out the rising tension between the pair.

Ms Hodder pulled up at Alwold Crescent, Lee with Jay, accompanied by friends, Michael Cook, Charlie Pamphlett and Shane Ray-Walker in her Hyundai Hatchback.

Mr Gunther followed in a Mazda RX8 driven by Dean Osborn.

Jurors were told that – unbeknownst to the group – Grogan and his family were lying in wait with a terrifying array of weapons.

Shortly after Mr Sewell’s group arrived, members of the Grogan entourage allegedly piled over the railway footbridge to Alwold Cresent from their house on Sidthorpe Road.

Daniel’s father Robert Grogan was allegedly carrying an axe while the mother Ann, 54, held something concealed in a red and white checked tea towel.

Mr George then questioned Mr Gunther about the events leading up to Jay’s death.

He told the jury he did not want to go to the meeting but ‘couldn’t let my friends go by themselves’.

Asked by Mr George if his own group had any weapons, Mr Gunther admitted they had a baseball bat.

Mr Sewell was fatally stabbed on December 11 last year on a street in Lee, South East London

Mr Sewell was fatally stabbed on December 11 last year on a street in Lee, South East London 

When Mr George suggested that it could be used to inflict violence, Mr Gunther replied: ‘What else do you use a bat for? You either play baseball or your hit someone with it.’

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Mr George asked the witness if he carried any weapons himself, to which he replied: ‘On my person I had nothing, given the reason why I had picked up two bricks.’

Mr Gunther said he ‘heard what sounded like an army coming down the road’.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of Mr Gunther launching a brick at the Grogan clan after a brief stand-off.

‘My whole intention to throw bricks was to take one of their heads off. I was not getting hit with a bat mate. Sorry, not happening.’

He added: ‘If I had a bat on me it would be a different story, believe me.’

Mr Gunther denied that his brick throwing was the spark that led to Mr Sewell’s death and insisted he was only acting in self defence.

He said the killing had ruined his life and asked for a break in his evidence, claiming he was very ’emotionally distressed’ as he spoke in court.

The Grogans, of Lee, Bennett, of the same address, Hickey, of Eltham, the 16-year-old, from Greenwich, and Dudley, of no fixed address, all deny murder.

The trial continues. 

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