Seb Mitchell trial: Murder accused stabbed victim after row
Last updated Aug 17, 2023
Seb Mitchell. Picture: Sam Mitchell.
Seb Mitchell. Picture: Sam Mitchell.

WARNING: The following report contains details which some people may find upsetting.

Harrogate knife victim Seb Mitchell was stabbed to death after a row over a broken mirror, a court has heard.

The incident occurred at a house in Harrogate where the two teenagers became embroiled in a row, a jury at Leeds Crown Court was told yesterday.

The boy accused of Seb’s murder, who can’t be named for legal reasons, stabbed Seb in the chest with a kitchen knife which led to a fatal loss of blood and cardiac arrest.

He appeared for the first day of his trial, expected to last six-to-seven-days, yesterday after pleading not guilty to murder. 

Three teenagers who witnessed the horrific incident in the early hours of February 19 this year went to Seb’s aid and called police and an ambulance as he lay barely conscious on a sofa.

Prosecutor Peter Moulson KC said a broken mirror and pane of glass in the kitchen appeared to be the “catalyst” for the fatal stabbing after the boys started arguing and scuffling. 

When police arrived, Seb, who was 17, was unresponsive and falling deeper into unconsciousness. Officers found blood stains in the kitchen, living room and a settee, and a red stain on one of the knives from the kitchen block. 

Seb was taken to Harrogate District Hospital by ambulance, but his condition was so critical he was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent emergency surgery and was placed in a medically induced coma.

Despite the best efforts of doctors, he died two days later.

Police launched a murder investigation and spoke to two girls and a teenage boy who were at the house that night where drinks had been consumed.

The murder suspect, from Harrogate, was brought in for questioning but refused to answer police questions during three separate interviews. He also refused to provide blood and urine samples.

However, he did provide a prepared, legally assisted statement claiming initially that the stabbing was in self-defence and that Seb was the aggressor.

Grabbed knife during argument

The two girls told police that the defendant grabbed a knife from the kitchen and confronted Seb with it during the argument which led to scuffling.

One of the girls said the defendant pushed her away before grabbing the knife and “pointing it at Seb”.

She said:

“We were all trying to hold [the defendant] back.”

She said he seemed “fixated with the [victim]” and that the defendant told Seb: “I’m going to wet you up.”

Mr Moulson said the expression “wet you up” was “London slang” for a stabbing. 

Leeds Crown Court. Picture: the Stray Ferret.

Leeds Crown Court

She said she heard the defendant repeatedly saying to the victim: “I’m gonna kill you.”

She saw Seb and the defendant “on the floor, in the corner of the kitchen, with glass smashed around them”.

They ended up “face to face” while the others tried to pull them apart, but the teenager wielding the knife was “still not listening” and was pushing her away.

She said he pointed the knife towards Seb’s stomach. She tried to grab the knife from the defendant, but he told her: “Don’t touch my f****** knife.”

The two boys were still shouting at each other as the fight spilled over into the living room, but then Seb fell silent and was laid out, grasping his chest which was bleeding.

‘Fell on the knife’

The girl called 999 and was told by the teenage defendant to tell the ambulance operator that Seb had fallen onto the knife on the floor and that it was an accident. The two other teenage witnesses went along with this because they thought the defendant “could kill them” too. 

The girl, who was “too scared to say what actually happened”, told the call-handler: 

“Please be quick. He’s dying. Please. He’s 17. He’s going. He’s just about [breathing] but he’s going.”

In the 999 call – an audio recording of which was played to the jury – the defendant could be heard telling the girl to tell the operator that Seb “fell on the knife”.

Screaming, groans and desperate shouts of “Please, help” could be heard in the background.

The girl told the call-handler: 

“He fell on the floor. There was a knife on the floor. We all had a drink. We need an ambulance. He’s bleeding seriously. He’s not responding.”

A male voice can then be heard saying:

“We need [an ambulance] now or he’s gonna die. He’s unconscious; he’s not responding in the slightest. He’s breathing but he’s not there.”

The girl later told police that Seb was backing away from the defendant who was “getting a bit closer” with the knife and “getting louder and louder”. 

She said the defendant was acting “like he wanted to hurt all of us in there”, which was “very scary”.

The other girl said she saw the defendant “making jabbing motions” with the blade before stabbing Seb. 

She added:

“We were all trying to stop it.

“We were like, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do this, it’s not worth it’.”

She said the defendant was “waving the knife around, putting the knife to [Seb’s] stomach, jabbing [the blade]”.

“That’s when I looked away and when I walked round the corner there was like a silence… with [the defendant] saying, ‘I’m going to wet you up, it doesn’t take much to put it in you.”

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She then heard her male friend shouting: “You actually just stabbed him.” 

She said Seb was “really drunk”.

The defendant and another teenager were giving Seb chest compressions in an attempt to revive him.

When police arrived, the defendant told them:

“It was me. I was scared. Really sorry. Everyone here are witnesses. I promise I was just trying to defend myself. You can arrest me. This wasn’t meant to happen.”

Mr Moulson said this was a key part of the prosecution evidence as the boy was no longer saying the victim fell on the knife and claiming it was an accident.

The male teenage witness told police that Seb, a black belt in karate who also played football, was the aggressor initially and that the stabbing was an accident. 

He said he saw the two boys wrestling in the kitchen following an argument about the broken glass and then the defendant grabbed a knife and told Seb he would “poke him”.

‘Didn’t intend to kill’

The defendant, who admitted manslaughter at a previous hearing, accepts that he deliberately stabbed Seb but denies murder. He claims he didn’t intend to kill or do really serious harm to the teenager. 

The prosecution now has to prove that he intended to kill or cause Seb really serious harm to prove murder.

Mohammed Nawaz KC, for the defendant, said:

“We do not say he acted in self-defence. We accept it was not responsible or proportionate for [the defendant] to pick up a knife in response to what was going on.”

He added, however, that it was the defence’s contention that it was not a deliberate stabbing with intent to kill Seb or cause him really serious harm. 

A paramedic who arrived at the scene at about 12.20am said that Seb’s clothes were covered in blood. He was laid on a sofa with a 3cm-long puncture wound to his chest.

The trial continues.