Victim of Hornsey stabbing died after ‘brushing off’ wound to his thigh, court hears as manslaughter trial begins

James O’Keefe, from Haringey, died after being stabbed at a residential address in Shelley House on

James OKeefe, from Haringey, died after being stabbed at a residential address in Shelley House on Boyton Road, N8, Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

A tiny cut to a varicose vein led to the death of a man in a Hornsey flat after an argument last December, the Old Bailey heard.

The scene of a fatal stabbing in Boyton Road, Hornsey. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

The scene of a fatal stabbing in Boyton Road, Hornsey. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey - Credit: Archant

James O’Keefe, 47, did not seek medical help and probably “brushed off” the 1.5cm-deep wound after a kitchen knife nicked his right thigh, the Old Bailey was told.

But it had sliced a varicose vein, causing “severe, prolonged and unchecked bleeding”, from which he died, jurors heard.

Mr O’Keefe’s friend George Nolan, 55, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of manslaughter.

Prosecutor Julian Evans said the pair got into an argument while drinking at Boyton Road flat of another friend, Jan Farnham, on December 9.


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Afterwards, Mr Farnham allegedly found Mr O’Keefe with his trouser leg soaked with blood, and saying that Nolan had stabbed him.

Mr O’Keefe went into the bathroom where he collapsed in the bath, as Mr Farnham rushed to get help, jurors heard.

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The following day, a knife with the victim’s blood on it was found in a communal bin near Mr Farnham’s flat and Nolan was arrested.

Mr Evans said: “Based on the medical evidence and the blood staining inside the flat, it would appear that James O’Keefe suffered a single stab wound that bled profusely, unchecked and untreated for a lengthy period of time, before he collapsed in the bathroom.

“In all likelihood, James O’Keefe did not appreciate the potential seriousness of the injury he had suffered. Whether this was because he was intoxicated or whether he lost consciousness is not known.”

Mr Evans said that in light of the size of the shallow wound, the prosecution’s case was that Nolan stabbed Mr O’Keefe intending to cause him some but not really serious harm.

Nolan, of Tottenham, denies manslaughter. His defence is that an argument blew up between Mr O’Keefe and Mr Farnham over a coat the victim was refusing to return.

Mr Evans said: “It is the defendant’s case that he picked up a knife inside the flat in order to deter James O’Keefe, who was armed and advancing upon him, and that O’Keefe suffered the injury to his thigh as a result of stumbling towards him while he was holding the knife.”

The trial continues.

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