Student knifed after racist insults hurled from cab’

PUBLISHED: 16:38 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 12 August 2010

A LABOURER stabbed an Asian student to death after hurling racist insults at the teenager from a minicab, a court has heard. Steven

A LABOURER stabbed an Asian student to death after hurling racist insults at the teenager from a minicab, a court has heard.

Steven Braithwaite, 31, plunged a knife into 17-year-old Nilanthan Murddi's neck after screaming "Pakis" from the back of the cab, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told last Wednesday.

Mr Murddi, 17, from New Addington, was toasting a friend's birthday in the street when he started picking arguments with strangers in passing cars in Croydon.

Jurors heard that one of the men he shouted at was Braithwaite, who allegedly returned on foot to settle the row in savage fashion.

Mr Murddi, a pupil in the mixed sixth form at Langley Park School in Beckenham, was seen to stagger across the street before collapsing and dying at the scene.

Jurors heard that the teenager and his friends had swigged from bottles of spirits and that Mr Murddi's behaviour was described by eye-witnesses as "argumentative".

Christopher Kinch, QC, prosecuting, said: "[Mr Murddi] had rows with passers-by, picking for no reason on people to have a row with them." At one point he challenged Braithwaite as his cab waited at traffic lights, it was said.

The defendant screamed: "Come on then" and one of Mr Murddi's group yelled: "Throw him out" to the cabbie, Mr Kinch told the jury of six men and six women.

Braithwaite allegedly shouted "Pakis" from the back seat of his cab in response, incensing Mr Murddi, who was said to have gone "ballistic".

Mr Murddi yelled: "P**s off" and was seen to try to pull Braithwaite from the car, said Mr Kinch.

Braithwaite's cab sped off when the traffic lights changed to green and Mr Murddi and his pals continued to celebrate into the early hours of August 16 last year.

But Braithwaite returned on foot spoiling for a fight and clutching a can of lager, the court heard.

Mr Kinch said: "Some witnesses say they saw him produce a small knife, the folding type.

"Mr Braithwaite swung at Nilanthan to the region of the neck."

Braithwaite, of no fixed address, but said to be from the Croydon area, denies murder.

The trial continues.

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