- Young, Innocent and Inside - The Case of Sam Hallam
3 (of 7) Arrest
By the time PH and BK came to make subsequent statements, there were significant changes to the accounts they had given initially. In her second statement given on 14th October 2004, PH stated that on 13th October, she was walking with a female friend in Pitfield Street, Hoxton when they encountered 17 year-old Sam Hallam who lived in the area.
PH had already told her friend that she had heard rumours that someone called 'Sam' had been involved in the murder. She was never asked to identify the source(s) of these rumours. According to her friend, PH had stated that the person she thought was 'Sam' had been wearing a hood but that 'you could still see his blond hair'. As they came down Pitfield Street, PH's friend said 'that's Sam Hallam'. PH confronted him and told him that people were saying he had been involved in the attack. Both young women agreed that he denied having been on St Luke's estate on the night of 11th October.
Pitfield Street, Hoxton
In a statement given to police on 14th October 2004, PH claimed that she recognised Sam Hallam 'as one of the boys who attacked Essayas'. There are, however, a number of problems with her second statement. In her 14th October statement, she described Sam Hallam as having 'dark brown hair' while in her previous conversation with her friend before their encounter with Sam Hallam, she said the person in question had blond hair. She gave no explanation why in her 12th October statement, she made no mention of having seen anyone meeting the description of the rumoured 'Sam' at the murder scene. These inconsistencies were amplified when it came to her evidence at Sam Hallam's subsequent trial.
BK made a second statement on 20th October 2004 in which he claimed that he now recognised the white youth riding a BMX bike mentioned in his initial 13th October witness statement was Sam Hallam. Again, there were serious anomalies in relation to BK's second statement. In his 20th October statement, he claimed 'I said in my last interview that I recognised the boy but could not remember his name'. He had, in fact, said no such thing in his previous statement. Indeed, in a four and a half hours interview with police leading up to his first written statement, he said of the boy on the BMX bike "I can't remember that boy at all because I never looked at him".
BK gave no explanation why he had described the white youth on the BMX bike as having blond hair when Sam Hallam had dark hair. In his 20th October 2004 statement, BK claimed that Sam Hallam had been holding a "baseball bat about 15"-20" long and had a screw of about 5" long coming at right angles through the top of the bat about 2" from the top".
PH'ssecond statement said nothing about the role Sam Hallam was supposed to have played as part of the group which attacked Louis Colley and Essayas Kassahun. She said that while Sam Hallam was in the crowd which carried out the attack, she "could not say exactly what he did or what he was wearing". BK's second statement, on the other hand, had Sam Hallam 'virtually standing over" Essayas Kassahun with the baseball bat and that he was "worried that Sam Hallam was going to hit Essayas with it because I had seen the screw in the bat just seconds before". The certainty contained in BK's statement contrasts markedly with his testimony at Sam Hallam's 2005 trial.
Sam Hallam was arrested by police at his Hoxton home on 20th October 2004. He told the officers that as a consequence of the encounter with PH and her friend, he knew why they had come but that he had not been involved. He said that on the night in question, he was playing football with a friend TH on a local recreation ground.
Sam Hallam's arrest photograph
He still denied, however, having met Sam Hallam that night.
An obvious response to the problems with Sam Hallam's initial answer about his whereabouts on 11th October is that following PH's accusations, he had a whole week in which - had he wanted or needed to - he could have concocted more plausible alibi evidence than putting forward the name of a friend who in the event did not support him. Along with seven others, Sam Hallam was charged with murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and violent disorder. /next