A Kosovan accused of murdering a compatriot in a London snooker club has denied being the killer and pointed the finger at a man who died in prison in January 2020.
Jeton Krasniqi, 27, denies murdering Grineo Daka at the Phoenix snooker club in Leyton, east London, around 3 a.m. on 7 July 2019.
A third man, Liridon Saliuka, 29, was charged with murder but died in his cell in Belmarsh prison on 2 January 2020.
On Wednesday, 28 April, Krasniqi entered the witness box to give his version of events, in which he accused Mr Saliuka of carrying out the shooting and said the gunman then gave him the murder weapon, asking him to dispose of it.
Krasniqi threw the gun into a neighbouring garden and claimed Mr Saliuka was “angry” with him when he found out what he had done with it.
Prosecutor Grills Alleged Murderer
Cross-examining him, prosecutor Lisa Wilding QC asked him why Mr Saliuka would murder Mr Daka and then hand the murder weapon and a pair of gloves to Krasniqi.
Krasniqi said he could not explain but Ms Wilding persisted: “You have no explanation why he would ask you to get rid of the literally smoking gun?”
“No,” he replied.
Ms Wilding asked: “Why, having handled the gun and left his DNA on it would he give it to you and then give you some gloves that he’d concealed?”
“I can’t say. I didn’t have the courage to ask,” Krasniqi replied.
Ms Wilding queried his account and asked him: “You are not responsible in any way shape or form for the events that took place in the club that night?”
Krasniqi replied: “If I was responsible in any shape or form I would have fled the country.”
Shooting Took Place In Busy Snooker Club
The trial jury has heard there were around 50 or 60 people in the club at the time of the shooting and to most it was a “normal night” as they played snooker, drank beer and socialised.
Around 3am someone fired four shots at Mr Daka, a 22-stone Kosovan, who staggered down the stairs and collapsed in the corridor as people rushed past him to escape the “chaos”.
Ms Wilding has claimed the gun was brought into the club by Mr Saliuka, whose fingerprints and DNA were later found on the weapon.
But she claims Krasniqi was the shooter and has shown the jury CCTV evidence, which showed Krasniqi emerging from a door at the back of the club onto a balcony and hurling the murder weapon into a neighbouring garden before fleeing the scene.
Accused Denies 'Downplaying' Cocaine Use
Krasniqi later denied he was a regular cocaine user at the time of the murder, despite having told a nurse who was filling in a form when he was arrested that he took the drug regularly.
Ms Wilding said Krasniqi had said he was a “different person” when he took cocaine and she claimed he was trying to downplay his use of the drug to the jury.
Krasniqi told the trial he had once been a "promising footballer" in his teens but later got into drugs and was working as a part-time labourer at the time of the murder.
Under English law there is nobody in court representing Mr Saliuka or his family.
The trial continues.