More than 90 phone calls between Treeton man and accomplices on day of murder, court told

By David Parker | 09/04/2019

More than 90 phone calls between Treeton man and accomplices on day of murder, court told
Victim Jarvin Blake

A ROTHERHAM man was part of a gang who planned a fatal attack on a father-of-three in broad daylight, a court was told.

Caine Gray (27), of Treetown Crescent, Treeton, has been charged with the murder of drug dealer Jarvin Blake (22) in Burngreave on March 8 last year.

Mr Blake was stabbed to death at the junction of Catherine Street and Brackley Street, Sheffield.

Gray is on trial along with two other men — Devon Walker (25), of Burngreave, Sheffield, and Josiah Foster (26), of Cookson Close, Sheffield — at Sheffield Crown Court.

Walker is also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm for an attack on Mr Jarvin’s friend, Declan Maw.

A fourth man, Lewis Barker (27), of Parson Cross, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to murder yesterday.

Opening the case this morning (Tuesday), prosecutor Mr Simon Kealey said Walker had directed Gray, Foster and Barker to a residential street in Sheffield where Mr Blake was walking with Mr Maw so they could attack him.

Gray, Foster and Barker travelled to the scene of the attack in a blue Volvo and, when Mr Blake and Mr Maw spotted them, they suspected a set up and tried to get away.

Mr Maw saw the three men run from the Volvo and spotted one of them carrying what he thought was an army or combat knife, Mr Kealey said.

Mr Blake and Mr Maw were chased on foot along the street and, when Mr Blake was caught, he was stabbed repeatedly, including a fatal blow to the chest.

His chest cavities and the main pumping chamber of his heart were penetrated, and, despite the efforts of paramedics who tried to revive him, he died minutes after the attack.

Mr Maw was chased into a garden where Walker assaulted him and struck him with a paving stone, Mr Kealey said.

Mr Blake was a small-scale drug dealer and he and Mr Maw had been assaulted and threatened in the months leading up to the incident.

“It may well be that those assaults and this fatal assault are connected to the dealing of illicit drugs and disputes arising out of that,” said Mr Kealey.

Gray, Walker and Foster have admitted being at the scene but denied any involvement in the murder.

“Each of the defendants played a part in the fatal attack upon Jarvin Blake,” said Mr Kealey.

“The prosecution are not able to say which of the defendants inflicted the blows with a knife but each was aware of and agreed to the plan to inflict really serious injury or death upon Mr Blake and deliberately assisted or encouraged another or others in an unlawful attack.”

Mr Kealey said there were more than 90 phone calls between Gray, Walker, Foster and Barker on the day of the alleged murder, which provided “compelling evidence” of discussion, planning and involvement in the attack.

A forensic analysis of Barker’s phone showed searches in the days leading up to the murder for different types of illegal knife.

Forensic evidence suggested that Gray was a rear passenger in the Volvo, as his DNA was found on a swab taken from the seatbelt buckle, Mr Kealey said.

Gray was interviewed twice by police and refused to answer questions on both occasions.

The men deny all the charges.

The trial continues.

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