Stephen Akinyemi died after 'nickname row', inquest hears

Arran Coghlan Image copyright PA
Image caption Arran Coghlan was cleared of Stephen Akinyemi's murder in 2010

A suspected gangster who was shot dead had been in a row over the use of a nickname, an inquest has heard.

Stephen "Aki" Akinyemi died after a fight with businessman Arran Coghlan at the latter's Cheshire mansion in 2010. Mr Coghlan was cleared of his murder.

A fresh inquest heard Mr Coghlan was acting as a peacemaker in a row which involved a man called Philip Atkinson.

David Mason QC told London's Royal Courts of Justice: "They both had Porsches with the number plate 'Aki'."

Mr Coghlan told a previous inquest in 2011 that Mr Akinyemi pulled a gun on him and that it went off during a struggle.

At the time, Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg recorded an open verdict, saying he had "difficulty" accepting Mr Coghlan's version of events.

'Nothing shocks me'

At Monday's hearing, Mr Mason, representing Mr Coghlan, claimed that Mr Akinyemi was at Mr Coghlan's home because he was "upset that another man was using the same nickname".

Mr Akinyemi's brother John told the inquest he did not think his brother would have been "bothered with that" and said the only reason he wanted to see Mr Coghlan was simply because "he was his friend".

He said he did not know whether his brother carried weapons.

Coroner Bernard Richmond QC asked whether he would be shocked if the inquest heard that weapons had been discovered.

Mr Akinyemi replied: "It would be a bit of a shock but, generally speaking, nothing shocks me. It would be something I have learned."

Stephen Akinyemi was arrested in connection with the murder of Chinaedu Iheagwara, 34, in 2002.

When pressed about any comments his brother had made about this shooting and his arrest, John Akinyemi repeatedly said: "I cannot remember."

He later said: "He made out like he was being troubled for something he did not do and he did not want to talk about it."

Drink petrol

After Mr Coghlan was initially accused of murdering Stephen Akinyemi, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charge because it could not prove Mr Coghlan, who suffered stab wounds, was not acting in self-defence.

It was the third time he had been cleared of murder.

In 1996, he was cleared of murdering alleged gangland enforcer Chris Little, who had been shot dead at the wheel of his Mercedes two years earlier.

In 2001, another drug dealer David Barnshaw, 32, was kidnapped, forced to drink petrol and burned alive in the back of a car in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Mr Coghlan was acquitted of leading the gang that tortured and killed him when it emerged that police failed to pass on important information about another possible suspect.

The inquest continues.

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