Key evidence in trial of man accused of murdering Macaulay Byrne at Sheffield pub as jury consider verdict

Macaulay Byrne, known affectionately as Coley, was just 26-years-old when he suffered fatal stab wounds during an incident which took place outside the Gypsy Queen pub, on Drake House Lane, in Beighton on Boxing Day 2021. Prosecutors allege that Mr Byrne was knifed during a ‘fight’.

21-year-old Bovic Mupolo of Fleury Rise, Gleadless was charged with, but has denied, murdering Mr Byrne. He has been on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of the fatal crime since November 8, 2022. Layton Morris, aged 25, of Sidney Street, Swinton, has pleaded not guilty to assisting an offender. He is alleged to have helped Mr Mupolo – both with his departure from the murder scene and with a change of clothes. He has been on trial, alongside Mupolo.

Pictured is Macaulay Byrne, also known as Coley, who died after suffering fatal stab wounds in an accident outside the Gypsy Queen pub, in Beighton, Sheffield on Boxing Day 2021

Here, we have put together a timeline and a summary of the key evidence heard during the course of the trial.

The key times and dates

– 9.55pm on Sunday, December 26, 2021:

Opening the case to the juryprosecuting barrister John Harrison KC, said: “At about 9.55pm, on Sunday, December 26, 2021, South Yorkshire Police received a 999 call from the assistant manager of The Gypsy Queen public house on Drake House Lane, at Beighton, in Sheffield .

Macaulay Byrne, known affectionately as Coley, was just 26-years-old when he suffered fatal stab wounds during an incident which took place outside the Gypsy Queen pub, on Drake House Lane, in Beighton on Boxing Day 2021. Prosecutors allege that Mr Byrne was knifed during a ‘fight’

“The caller reported that a man had been stabbed and was on the floor behind the bar area. This man was Macaulay Byrne. In due course, the emergency services arrived to try their best to save him.”

– 11.15pm on Sunday, December 26, 2021:

“Mr Byrne was taken to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital but he died of his wounds at 11.15pm,” Mr Harrison said.

– Tuesday, January 4, 2022:

Macaulay Byrne died on Boxing Day 2021, after suffering fatal stab wounds

-Thursday, February 3, 2022:

-Wednesday, February 9, 2022:

21-year-old Bovic Mupolo of Fleury Rise, Gleadless was charged with, but has denied, murdering Mr Byrne. He has been on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of the fatal crime since November 8, 2022.

Hundreds turn out at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium to bid farewell to Mr Byrne. The funeral party leads to a lengthy procession of vehicles, following a traditional black hearse. Flowers spelled the name ‘Coley’, and the word ‘son’ in the back of the vehicle. Behind the hearse, followed a blue and yellow Subaru Impreza funeral car, also carrying flowers through the stone gateway into the cemetery, on Abbey Lane.

-Thursday, March 2, 2022:

– Tuesday, November 8, 2022:

Bovic Mupolo and Layton Morris go on trial, charged with murder and assisting an offender, respectively.

– Tuesday, November 22, 2022:

Evidence from witnesses at the Gypsy Queen on the night of Mr Byrne’s murder

– Peter Pieterse, friend of Mr Byrne:

Mr Byrne’s friend, 28-year-old Peter Pieterse, told police during a recorded interview, played to the jury on November 9that he had been outside on the phone in the pub car park and he saw a ‘commotion’ involving Mr Byrne – who was known as Coley – and another man which spilled from the pub and down some steps.

He added: “The emotion comes outside. It’s ‘Coley’ and this other kid, this black fella, started fighting and what-not, and ended up leading downstairs to the car park. They started fighting. The next minute he has come up to me and he’s said ‘he’s stabbed me’. I look at his face of him. His face was all white. I ended up leading him upstairs and I looked behind, and that kid stood there, bouncing around, going ‘what-what?’. I came back inside and he was still there bleeding out and there was blood everywhere.”

– Catherine Gausden, paramedic:

Paramedic, Catherine Gausden, was called to the scene following a call to the emergency services. In her statement which was read out in court by Mr Harrison, she stated she and her colleague were stopped in their tracks by youths shouting and banging on their ambulance as they arrived and even after they entered the car park they could not get near the pub doors.

She added: “As I exited the vehicle to get equipment I was unable to do so because I was confronted by an angry mob and youths and I explained my colleague was inside and I needed to get inside.” Ms Gausden stated a police officer stood between her and the ‘mob’ and they were showered with broken glass before they got to Mr Byrne, who was bleeding profusely.

She also stated ‘this angry mob’ delayed vital equipment being taken to the patient and treatment from being administered. After Mr Byrne had been placed on a stretcher four or six people jumped on the back of the ambulance, she added. Ms Gausden stated: “We tried to tell them we needed to treat the patient but they would not listen.”

– Dawn Blake, assistant pub manager:

Assistant pub manager Dawn Blake stated she had seen about 10 to 12 males squaring-up outside before Mr Byrne approached the pub steps and she called 999 and said he had been stabbed and was now behind the bar.

– Leanne Temperton, Police Constable:

PC Leanne Temperton stated there were ‘pockets of people punching each other’ and she stopped the fights and removed everyone from behind the bar, where Mr Byrne lay injured. She added: “I saw Macaulay Byrne behind the bar being treated by staff. It was clear he had lost a large amount of blood because it was all over the bar.”

– Amy Fenton, Police Constable:

PC Amy Fenton stated: “There was a hysterical female behind the bar and she was asked to leave and she was hostile to police and she said ‘he’s my brother, I’m not leaving’.”

The continuation case

Mr Harrison says it is the continuation case that Macaulay Byrne was stabbed by Bovic Mupolo during a fight which spilled outside following an argument inside the pub. He claims Layton Morris went to the pub with Mupolo, was his friend and helped to try and hide his involvement. Mr Harrison said the background to the case is unclear. He told jurors that Mr Mupolo and Mr Morris, had originally been at the Masons Arms pub, at Wickersley, Rotherham, before taking a taxi to the Gypsy Queen, where they did not buy a drink but were seen going in and out of the pub .

He said: “A short time later they are stood at or near the door with a group of other men including Macaulay Byrne. An argument or altercation starts which results in Mupolo pushing Mr Byrne outside and Morris getting involved in another fight with others.”

Prosecutors allege that Mr Mupolo and Mr Morris subsequently fled, took a taxi to Swinton, changed their clothes at Mr Morris’ address before going back to the Masons Arms, and then to Sheffield’s Crystal Bar and the Viper Rooms. Mr Harrison said police later recovered clothing from Mr Morris’ home, including a sweatshirt allegedly worn by Mr Mupolo which had blood and mucus which matched Mr Byrne’s DNA. Mr Harrison also said that there had been regular phone communication between Mr Mupolo and Mr Morris which ceased on December 27, 2021.

Mr Byrne’s sister Carys Byrne told jurors on November 15 that she had gone to the pub on Drake House Lane on Boxing Day, last year, after receiving a phone call from a woman saying her brother had been stabbed. She revealed she knew Mr Mupolo because he was a friend of her ex-partner’s and she phoned him and accused him of stabbing her brother. She told the court: “I said, ‘You have just stabbed my brother.’ He told me he was at home in bed. I told him he was a liar and he put the phone down on me.”

The defense case of Mr Mupolo

Giving evidence on November 18, Mr Mupolo told jurors he knew who Mr Byrne was because he knew his sister Carys Byrne but he did not know him personally and there had been no ill-feeling towards him as they crossed paths in the pub. He continued: “As I was walking through I heard a group say some racial remarks and that caused me to turn around and go back out because I wanted to see what the issue was. I heard someone in the group say under their breath, ‘what are these black b******s doing here?’.”

Mr Mupolo said he told Mr Byrne he did not have any issues but he did not know ‘what your lads’ problem is’ and he then claimed Mr Byrne had said, ‘get out of my face, n****r before I stab you’. The defendant also claimed that after punching him, Mr Byrne charged back at him, grabbed him and used him as a ‘shield’ as he pushed him outside.

Mr Mupolo claimed he had been ‘terrified’ and there had been ‘hands flying everywhere’ trying to get at him before Mr Byrne was pushed down the steps into the car park.

He added: “It looked like he had something in his hand and he was getting ready. I don’t know what it was but that’s what it looked like to me.”

Mr Mupolo said he was trying to make sure he did not get pinned down and he kicked out because he thought Mr Byrne had a weapon.

He added: “I did not have a knife. I was just trying to defend myself.”

Mr Mupolo told defense barrister Nicholas Rhodes KC he had not stabbed Macaulay Byrne and he had not been aware Mr Byrne had been wounded until later on.

He added people were shouting racist insults and accusing him of stabbing Mr Byrne but he replied he had not stabbed anybody and as he and Mr Morris were subjected to further racist abuse they were chased away.

Mr Mupolo said: “They were shouting shoot them n*****s, kill them n*****s, and they were shouting these things to instill fear in us.”

The defense case of Mr Morris

Mr Morris said in a written defense statement that a group of males had been staring at them and he had had his jumper pulled over his head and he had been kicked.

He added that some people shouted racist abuse and threats so they left and got a taxi to his home where they changed clothes and he claimed he was not aware there had been a stabbing. Defense barrister Dermot Hughes said Mr Morris will not be giving further evidence.

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