Murder-accused ‘rammed the broom handle down the throat of Chauffeur in brutal arcade attack’


WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT. Jurors heard that the victim was kicked, beaten, and had a broom handle shoved down on his throat. There was bleach pouring over him, as well as fire extinguishers being ejected from his body.

A gambler punched a chauffeur with a broom handle and discharged fire extinguishers at him in an arcade, according to court records.

According to the jury, Abel Berhany stamped, kicked and jumped 99 times on Abraham Haile at City Slots on Camden High Road in northwest London.

After putting out two fire extinguishers “into Mr Haile”, the 23-year old continued his horrific attack by spraying bleach and aeresol on the 56-year old victim’s body.

Jurors believed Berhany, originally Ethiopian, might have suffered from post-traumatic Stress Disorder after being tortured in Libya.

Mr Haile was a chauffeur at City Slots, which was at that time a popular place for him to be seen, according to the Old Bailey.

Danny Robinson, QC, the Prosecutor, stated that Berhany had gone out to dinner with his friends in Finsbury Park, before he went to Camden on July 28, 2020.

The court heard that he entered an arcade just before 10 p.m. and proceeded to the open-air smoking area, where Mr Haile was.

After just four minutes, Berhany and Mr Haile began to argue. They were total strangers.

CCTV captured Mr Haile punching Berhany in the face before they moved onto the main part of the arcade.

“Mr Berhany continued to act aggressively towards Mr Haile,”Robinson, Mr.

“He knocked Mr Haile’s phone out of his hand and a couple of minutes later he kicked Mr Haile’s legs, threw him to the floor and started kicking him in the head.

“He fell to the ground, but Mr Haile didn’t get up. He was totally defenseless.”

The arcade’s manager ushered the remaining customers out before locking the front door and calling the police, jurors heard.

“In the 16 minutes they spent alone in City Slots, Mr Berhany kicked and stamped 99 times on Mr Haile’s head and upper body.

“He used a pen to draw on or score Mr Haile’s neck, and he poured bleach and sprayed an aerosol that he found in a store cupboard over Mr Haile’s body.

“He hit Mr Haile fifty times with two fire extinguishers and then he released both fire extinguishers onto Mr Haile.”

Berhany is said to have stopped for a cigarette in the middle of his attack.

“”After he had finished his cigarette, he began hitting Mr Haile with another fire extinguisher before finding a plastic mop in the smoking area,” Mr Robinson said.

“He removed the head of the broom and rammed the handle into Mr Haile’s mouth.

“He used a fire extinguisher for hammering the broom handle down on Mr Haile’s throat.”

The violence continued for another eight minutes before police arrived, the court heard.

“While they were trying to get in, Mr Berhany was still smashing into Mr Haile’s head a fire extinguisher.” the prosecutor said.

Berhany was arrested and emergency services tried to help Mr Haile who was ‘probably dead’ by the time they reached him.

A post-mortem examination performed on July 30, determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

A broken piece of broom handle, measuring 14.5cm, was found in Mr Haile’s throat during the examination.

Jurors went on to hear how Berhany was taken to Holborn Police Station and assessed by doctors and mental health professionals.

Analysis of his blood showed no trace of commonly used drugs or alcohol.

He was deemed fit to be detained and interviewed, and free from any acute mental health conditions.

But experts believed Berhany might suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, after he was previously tortured in Libya, the court heard.

Mr Robinson said Berhany came to the UK in 2015, telling authorities that he was 15 and from Ethiopia.

“He had traveled with his family from Ethiopia and Sudan.

“When he was aged about 14 they left Sudan and travelled to Libya, where he was imprisoned.

‘It was during his time in Libya that he was tortured.

‘He said that he was beaten, burnt with cigarettes, and given electric shocks.

“He traveled alone to Italy after his release, then made his way to Britain.”

The prosecutor said Berhany was initially put into the care of Kent County Council and was granted temporary leave to remain until May this year.

He denies assaulting Mr Haile and therefore denies causing his death.

“We think that it is enough to just look at the CCTV to know that he did.” prosecutor Mr Robinson said.

Berhany also claims he has diminished responsibility.

The prosecutor told jurors: “If you believe that he murdered Mr Haile, Mr Berhany suggests that his criminal liability be reduced to manslaughter owing to his diminished responsibility at time of offence.”

Berhany, of Leyton, east London, denies murder.

The trial continues.