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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Toni-Ann 'was alive' says accused
Toni-Ann Byfield
Toni-Ann was shot in the back
A man accused of murdering a drug dealer and his seven-year-old daughter has admitted visiting them, but said he left them "alive and well".

Prosecutors say Joel Smith, 32, shot Toni-Ann Byfield dead because she saw him murder Bertram Byfield in 2003.

Mr Smith told the Old Bailey he had seen them hours earlier when he went to buy cannabis at the flat in Kensal Green, north-west London.

He denies murdering either and said another man was responsible.

Mr Smith said he had met Mr Byfield at the 2003 Notting Hill Carnival - a month before the murders - and bought cannabis from him.

His baby was there. I did not know she was his baby. He did not introduce me
Joel Smith

He told jurors he knew him as "Blacka" and had been to his flat on one other occasion to buy cannabis.

On the night of 13 September 2003, he said he went to Mr Byfield's bedsit, where he saw Toni-Ann sitting on the bed.

"His baby was there. I did not know she was his baby. He did not introduce me," he said.

"She was sitting on the bed. I said hello. She did not say anything. I bought the cannabis again.

"Apart from her being there, there was nothing different to the other occasions I had been there, I was only there a short period."

Bertram Byfield
Mr Byfield was a convicted drug dealer

He said he was not carrying a gun, nor did he have any grudge or motive to kill either.

His counsel, Paul Lewis QC, asked: "When you left were father and daughter still alive and well?"

Mr Smith replied: "Very much so."

He told the court he believed another man he named as Tafari Dacas - currently serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder - had killed Mr Byfield.

He said Dacas told him he had gone round to see Mr Byfield, who he believed was having an affair with his girlfriend.

Retaliation fear

Asked whether he thought Dacas had shot Mr Byfield, Mr Smith said: "Yes, that is correct."

He said he was afraid he would be attacked in prison by friends of Dacas.

Toni-Ann, who was raised in Jamaica, had been in the care of Birmingham Social Services when she was killed.

She had been on a visit to Mr Byfield, a convicted drug dealer who she believed to be her father, while her foster family were away.

She was shot in the back in Mr Byfield's bedsit, in a hostel for ex-offenders late on the night of 13 September 2003.

The trial continues.


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