Court told that 81-year-old Chichester man acted as getaway driver for drug dealer who stabbed a man

Ian Hemmens, 81, of Bognor Road, Chichester, is on trial at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of assisting an offender 'Picture: (160919-7484)
Ian Hemmens, 81, of Bognor Road, Chichester, is on trial at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of assisting an offender 'Picture: (160919-7484)
Share this article

An 81-year-old man acted as a getaway driver who helped a drug dealer escape after stabbing a man in a drugs dispute, a court has heard.

Retired Ian Hemmens, of Bognor Road, Chichester, West Sussex, is accused of driving Mahamud Sami away from the scene of the attack on Bognor Regis seafront on March 10, causing him to evade arrest and prosecution.

Amy Packham, prosecuting, told Portsmouth Crown Court that Hemmens had been waiting in his green Citroen C3 car when Mr Sami jumped into the back seat of the car and hid in the footwell while the octogenarian drove him away.

She said Mr Sami, a student based in Chichester, had evaded arrest but his accomplice, Akeem Adebayo, 23, of Colindale Avenue, Colindale, London, was arrested and charged.

Adebayo is on trial accused of wounding with intent to cause GBH and two charges of possessing cocaine and heroin with intent to supply, while Hemmens is accused of assisting an offender.

Ms Packham said Adebayo and Mr Sami had chased after a Lithuanian man, Dimitrijs Semelis, who lived in Bognor, in a ‘dispute over the supply of drugs’ before Mr Sami stabbed him five or six times while Adebayo held him down.

She said: ‘Something caused the two men from London to chase Mr Semelis along the seafront, they chased him between two beach huts and he ran into the entrance of a park where he was attacked and stabbed multiple times receiving injuries to his head, wrist, the back of his leg, his chest causing a punctured lung and his arm.’

Ms Packham continued: ‘Following the attack, another witness saw a young man jumping into the rear passenger door of a car, he saw the driver was an older white male, the car did a U-turn in the road.’

She added: ‘The prosecution say this was not a chance meeting, they were not strangers, Mr Hemmens had driven both Mr Sami and Mr Adebayo to Bognor earlier that evening and had remained in the area to take them back after what they were in the area to do, namely the prosecution says was dealing drugs.’

Ms Packham added: ‘Mr Hemmens was not directly involved in either the drug dealing activities or the argument and subsequent stabbing, he wasn't even present.

‘However he does appear to have been connected with Mr Sami and drove him around, them having made some kind of arrangement.

‘Mr Hemmens and Mr Sami both lived in Chichester although the prosecution cannot say how or when they met or the exact nature of their relationship or arrangement.’

Ms Packham said Hemmens initially told police he had not known Mr Sami and said ‘a black man jumped into his car and said “drive me to Chichester”.’

She added: ‘He then changed his account but he maintained he had set off on his own, he said he had, en route, picked up two hitchhikers and gave them a lift, they were two black men speaking another language he didn't understand.

‘He said he became aware of police activity and he was interested in what what was happening and a young man jumped into the back of his car, he said he didn't realise it was the same man as the hitchhiker he had picked up on the way to Bognor.’

Adebayo told police Mr Semelis had attacked them and he had only pushed him away out of self-defence.

Both defendants deny the offences and the trial continues.

Mr Sami has not faced charges over the incident.