The man accused of murdering Yannick Cupido made arrangements to see his ex-girlfriend less than two hours after stabbing the 24-year-old to death because 'it's Valentine's Day'. 

O'Neal Joseph, 28, denies Mr Cupido's murder but his movements after he fatally injured the Caversham man came under the microscope at Reading Crown Court today (October 27) in the second day of his trial. 

Following the stabbing, which occurred outside Best One shop on Nire Road, Caversham, just after midnight on February 14, Joseph plotted his escape from Reading.


He first returned to his partner's house and told her at the door 'I've just stabbed Yannick'. 

He had a large kitchen knife in his hand which had blood dripping from it. 

She responded 'what the f***' and asked him if Cupido was dead, to which he responded that he did not know. 

Joseph got changed and told his partner to get bin bags for his old clothes. 

After two failed calls to Reece Weatherburn (22 from Nire Road) who is also on trial for assisting an offender, he managed to get hold of him.

He went into the kitchen and spoke to him for two minutes but fled his partner's address after seeing flashing blue lights.

A man found Cupido lying in the road and emergency services were called at 00.49, February 14. 

Minutes later, Weatherburn called Joseph and then called his dad in an 11-minute, 48-second call. 

In the call, he told his dad: 'I have just spoken to OJ and he told me that he stabbed Yannick. He is leaving Reading’

He told his dad that things were getting ‘mad out here’. 

He contacted Weatherburn to tell him he had stabbed Cupido, according to a conversation the former had with his father in the early hours of the morning.

Yannick Cupido was pronounced dead at Royal Berkshire Hospital at 1.24am.

By this point, Joseph had run off and reached the Travellers Rest Pub on the Henley Road in Caversham, where he was using the pub's WiFi outside the premises. 

At 1.56am, Joseph sent his ex-partner a voice note. A transcript of the note reads: "

A transcript of the voice note Joseph sent to his ex-partner reads: "One guy he tried to drill me out re beef with him before but I’ve never seen, I haven’t seen him since that day. And he come and I come from an alleyway and as I come out of the alleyway, my man goes what have you done bruv, are you gonna kill me now, are you gonna kill me now say snuffing.

"Boom and went and bust my lip like headbutted me on my lip yea, bust open my lip. These times I had a shank on me in it and them times and when he said what, as soon as he said what to me, I’ve grabbed a shank in my hand, and as soon as he said what yea, he’s gone what , boom, I’ve pulled the shank out BLOAH straight into his chest’."

In a voice note conversation with his ex-partner at 2.12am, Joseph told her to get in touch with his family to tell them what had happened the following morning.

He said: “If it doesn’t seem like they’re [the police] on to me, I’ll come see you, it’s Valentine’s Day, aha.”

Joseph met Weatherburn on Cow Lane in Reading at 3.13am and laid low at his flat on Battle Square until 8am.

Before he left, at 6.52am, Joseph became aware of Cupido's death. 

He sent a message to his ex saying: 'He [Cupido] died, just found out, wtf. I feel sick.'

In these messages, he told her he got rid of his clothing and the knife that killed Cupido. 

He asked if he could lay low in her shed, telling her her children 'won't even see me' as he wouldn't come out. 

She declined this request. 

Joseph and Weatherburn left the latter's flat at 8.20am on February 14 and made their way to the BP garage on Oxford Road. 

CCTV footage was played to the jury which prosecutor Mr Matthew Walsh said appears to show Joseph using an arm movement to show Weatherburn how he stabbed Cupido. 

He also told the jury Joseph purposely ran onto the forecourt of the garage when he hears the vehicle.

They split up and Weatherburn was questioned by police at his mother’s house.

He did not tell them he knew Joseph stabbed Cupido and in a formal statement given later that day, described the slain 24-year-old as his ‘best friend’, and said his death as ‘completely random’.

Mr Walsh says Weatherburn was 'deliberately misleading and deliberately vague' and if he had told them what happened he would have 'greatly assisted police' 

At 11.27am on February 14, Joseph told Weatherburn he was leaving to go to Leicester. 

He was picked up from Reading by a former girlfriend and she drove him to her house in Bracknell. Here, he put a new sim card in his phone. 

Weatherburn was arrested on February 15. 

Here, he claimed he only became aware of Joseph's involvement after being told by a friend. 

He accepted meeting Joseph but insisted this was an accident. 

On February 16, Joseph bought a new phone from a shop in Bracknell. 

He had returned to Reading the same day and attended Loddon Valley Police Station with a solicitor. 

He gave no comment answers in questions from police but gave a prepared statement, which stated: 

  • He had an altercation with Cupido
  • Cupido was physically and verbally aggressive
  • He believed Cupido had an item in his hands and feared for his safety
  • He accepts he must have made contact with Cupido while he had an 'object' in his hand
  • That object caused injury to Cupido. 

Defending for Joseph, David Hislop said Joseph was acting in self-defence. He added that in the 24 hours after Cupido died, Joseph told two people Cupido was armed with a bottle and suffered a cut following their altercation.

Hislop says Joseph said he ‘genuinely feared for my safety based on his [Cupido’s] previous behaviours towards others I am aware of’.

The trial continues.