The trial of three men charged with murdering a man whose body was found in Stevenage woodland has begun.

The victim, Bereket Selomun, was found by a man walking his dog in the early morning near Fairlands Valley Park, a jury heard today (Tuesday).

The 20-year-old, who lived in Stevenage, was lying on his back with his arms outstretched, almost in the shape of a cross, St Albans Crown Court heard.

The top of his shirt was white at the top, but red with blood everywhere else, the court also heard.


Prosecutor Russell Pyne said the dog walker had been heading home just before 7.30am on July 7 last year. They were in a wooded area near Marriotts School in Brittain Way when the dog did not return.

"He noted his dog was circling something," Mr Pyne said.

"As he walked off the path to see what the dog found he saw a young male person lying on the ground. He was on his back. His arms were outstretched - almost in the shape of a cross.

“As he walked up to that young male, he could see the young male’s shirt was white at the top, but red everywhere else.

“He shook his foot and asked if he was OK. The male did not respond.”

The dog walker called the police.


A post mortem examination found the victim had been stabbed multiple times - suffering a minimum of eight stab wounds, the prosecutor said.

Three Stevenage men on trial for Mr Selomun's murder deny the charge. They are Jelani Omar, aged 23, of Plash Drive; Malake Fiseha, aged 23, of Manor View; and Natnael Hadgu, aged 18, of Ripon Road.

Robel Msgane, aged 23, of no fixed abode is accused of assisting an offender.

Mr Pyne said the victim and the defendants all had ethnic origins in Eritrea, and that their friendship came to an end towards the end of 2021 and start of 2022.

According to a friend, Mr Selomun and Mr Omar were working a night shift from July 5 into 6 when they had a disagreement. After that Bereket went missing.

The trial continues.