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22 June 2011, 17:40
A mother broke down and had to be hauled out of court when a jury cleared a teenager of murdering her son with a hunting knife.
The public gallery at Luton crown court erupted when Kierron Brown was found not guillty of killing Michael Simwonza.
Brown, 18, himself cried with his head in his hands in the dock and three women jury members were also in tears as Michael's mother Julie Bwalya, 35, yelled out in anguish .
After two minutes she was dragged out of the room by police officers.
Her son Michael, who went to school in Hemel Hempstead, was fatally stabbed in the chest at a Luton recreation ground where he had gone to buy cannabis.
The dealer, Kierron Brown, later told police he had taken the knife with him to Kingsway Recreation ground for protection as he had been kidnapped and threatened in the past.
He admitted stabbing Michael Simwanza, but said he was acting is self defence and that the victim had pistol whipped him and robbed him behind the club house.
Brown, who was 17 at the time, from Eynsford Road, Luton pleaded not guilty to murder on Saturday October 31 last year and was cleared by the six men and six women.
Prosecutor Beverley Cripps said Michael from Farley Hill, Luton the pair went behind the club house at 61FC on Dunstable Road, Luton where Brown was going to sell a £20 deal of cannabis.
She said: "But the transaction became violent. The BB gun was dropped and landed in separate pieces and Brown's base ball cap and mobile phone were also left on the ground.
"They were seen to go towards the car park where another violent scuffle started which brought them both to the ground but it seemed the defendant was getting the upper hand.
"Michael was seen to hold up his hands as if to say 'stop' and he moved back. He ran away but was chased back to the club house."
She said spectators at a match at the ground saw Brown hold the other man's top and someone shouted at them to stop. He was seen to let go and as he did so they saw a knife in his outstretched hand.
Micheal fell forwards onto the ground. He was fatally wounded, said the prosecutor.
Brown fled the scene and threw the knife into a garden in Beverley Road and removed his distinctive green hoody top. He ran along a disused railway line and later left the area. He handed himself into police the following day in Peterborough.
Giving evidence Brown, 18, admitted he had pulled a knife on the victim who he claimed had robbed him and pistol whipped him behind the club house.
He said: "I was scared. I thought he was going to shoot me so I pulled my knife out and swung it around. I didn't think I had connected with him, he just carried on hitting me.
"There was no indication he had been injured. I did not see any blood."
Brown said Michael then ran off but he decided to chase him and get the £200 he had taken from him back. They scuffled in the car park.
"I pleaded with him to give me the money back, but he threw a punch at me and I threw a punch and then someone shouted at us. That caught his attention and mine and when I looked back he was lying on the floor. I did not see any blood.
"I saw the money hanging out of his pocket and I grabbed it and the cannabis that was with it."
He told the court that he sprinted away, throwing the knife away as he went.
"I did not tell anyone that I had stabbed him because I didn't know I had stabbed him," he said.
Brown admitted he had gone to the recreation ground to sell a £20 deal of cannabis to a friend. But when the friend did not turn up he got talking to Michael who he had never met before.
He said he left Luton that night and heard the next day that police wanted to speak to him, so he went to the police station.
Asked why he carried the hunting knife he said he had been kidnapped three weeks before and had been beaten up and had his head repeatedly thrust into water.
He received threats after that to him and his family and believed the person who had set up the kidnap was another cannabis dealer.
Brown was freed by Mr Justice Cooke. He told the jury: "I am sorry the case was distressing for you too."