Trial date set for five accused of murdering 20-year-old from Stevenage

Bereket Selomun, aged 20, whose body was found with multiple stab wounds in woodland in Stevenage

Bereket Selomun, aged 20, whose body was found with multiple stab wounds in woodland in Stevenage - Credit: Hertfordshire Constabulary

A trial date has been set following the death of 20-year-old Bereket Selomun from Stevenage.

Jelani Omer, Robel Msgane and Malake Fiseha, all aged 23, Temesgen Gebremedhin, aged 20, and 18-year-old Natnael Hadgu appeared at St Albans Crown Court via videolink from HMP Bedford today (Tuesday, July 19).

The five men, all from the Stevenage area, are charged with murdering Bereket Selomun.

St Albans Crown Court, where five men appeared accused of murdering Stevenage 20-year-old Bereket Selomun

St Albans Crown Court, where five men appeared accused of murdering Stevenage 20-year-old Bereket Selomun - Credit: Will Durrant

Selomun - a permanent Hertfordshire resident who fled Eritrea and was granted asylum the UK as a teenager - was found dead with multiple stab wounds in woodland off Brittain Way, next to Fairlands Valley Park, on July 7.

Appearing before Judge Michael Kay QC, each defendant was asked to confirm their name.

The court provided one defendant - Mr Omer - with a Tigre interpreter. The other four defendants raised concerns that they had not been provided with a Tigrinya interpreter, which is a different language, and that they struggled to understand the proceedings.

No defendants were asked to make any pleas, and a trial date was provisionally set for January 3, 2023.

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A plea hearing is due to take place beforehand, on September 30 this year.

"You will get to speak to a lawyer and they will need to speak to you with an interpreter," His Honour Judge Kay explained.

The judge added that all the appropriate interpreters will need to be found ahead of the next court appearance.

Mr Omer, of Plash Drive, Mr Msgane, of no fixed abode, Mr Fiseha, of Manor View, Mr Gebremedhin, of Bedwell Crescent, and Mr Hadgu, of Ripon Road were all remanded to custody.

In an earlier statement, Detective inspector Iain MacPherson, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BCH) Major Crime Unit said officers' enquiries took place "at pace".

DI MacPherson added: "Our thoughts remain with Bereket's family at this extremely difficult time.

"We are still appealing for any witnesses who haven’t yet spoken to police to please come forward.

"If you have any information at all, please contact us."

He said anybody with information can come forward online (https://www.herts.police.uk/) or by phone on 101, quoting Operation Madrigal.

Alternatively, reports can be filed anonymously via the CrimeStoppers charity online (https://crimestoppers-uk.org/) or on 0800 555 111.