Teenager killed over brother’s drug debt

TEENAGER Jacob Woudstra was stabbed to death after standing up for his brother who was involved in a drug dispute.

The 17-year-old, known as Jake, died after being knifed in the chest at The Shah pub near his home in Mount Pleasant Road on April 5 this year.

Adam Skilton, 42, of Wilton Road, Bexhill, denies murder and perverting the course of justice.

At the start of his trial at Hove Crown Court this week, Richard Barton, prosecuting, said: “This case concerns how this defendant chose for no good reason to involve himself in a dispute that arose over other people’s drug debts.”

Mr Barton described Jake and his older brother Levi as very close despite their differences.

“Levi was an outgoing lad, perhaps a bit impulsive. Jake was rather quieter, he was a bright lad, he was studying for his A-levels.”

Levi Woudstra, 19, gave evidence to the court on Tuesday (September 18), and told how he had been caught up in a dispute over a long-term drug debt of £800 relating to cannabis, with Skilton and another man, since the end of 2010.

He said that he had been subject to a campaign of violence and threats from Skilton from the end of 2010, up until the incident in April, including the defendant visiting the family home he shared with his father Steve and younger brother Jake.

Levi claimed that Skilton had repeatedly threatened to “smear him up”.

On April 5, after finishing work at 3pm, Levi said he went into The Shah pub for a quick drink with a friend, planning to attend a self-defence class later that evening.

In the pub was Skilton, who he described as being in a volatile mood. Levi said Skilton immediately tried to headbutt him, splitting his lip, before pulling out a knife.

Levi said: “I was scared, I have never felt that way before, it was just so quick.”

He told the court he ran through to the back of the pub, managed to get over the wall in the beer garden and ran home.

“I was in a hurried, worried state, I just felt I needed to defend myself,” he said, explaining that he took the bar of a dumbell from Jake’s room and told his brother what had happened.

He said that Jake picked up a broken golf club and followed him back to the pub.

When questioned by Mr Barton about whether he thought it was a good thing that his brother came with him, Levi said: “Brothers stick by each other through thick and thin.

“I know I wouldn’t have taken no for an answer.”

Levi said when he re-entered the pub Skilton came towards him with a knife before lunging at Jake.

“It all happened so fast,” he said. “Jake’s back went into the fruit machine, he made a sound as if he got punched.

“I didn’t know if [Skilton] had actually stabbed him at that point.”

He said he grabbed his brother and dragged him out into the beer garden.

Jake was unable to climb onto the wall to escape, and Skilton lunged at him again with the knife.

Levi said that he hit Skilton over the head with the metal bar and managed to drag Jake over the wall.

It was on the way home that he realised something was seriously wrong with Jake.

“He shouted: ‘Levi, Levi, I’ve been stabbed’.

“That’s when he pulled up his top to show his chest. There was a whole about the size of a £2 coin.

“I was panicking, shaking like a leaf.”

He said that he tried to reassure Jake and when they reached their house he ran to grab some towels from a cupboard to try to stop the bleeding, and called for an ambulance.

It was while he was on the phone that Jake collapsed, and Levi gave him CPR as instructed by the operator before the paramedics arrived and took over.

However Jake died at the scene, shortly after 4pm.

Skilton was arrested the following day and pleaded not guilty to murder and perverting the course of justice when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on June 27.

It is alleged that after Jake had been stabbed, Skilton told the pub landlady not to give the police his name.

The trial continues.