Manchester

Stephen Akinyemi death: Man shot 'gangster friend'

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

A man who shot a suspected gangster has told an inquest they were such good friends that it had seemed "impossible" for something like that to happen.

Stephen "Aki" Akinyemi died in a fight with businessman Arran Coghlan in 2010.

A murder charge against Mr Coghlan was dropped because prosecutors could not prove he was not acting in self-defence when he shot Mr Akinyemi in the head.

Mr Coghlan told London's Royal Courts of Justice he believed "it was impossible for him and me to fall out".

The 45-year-old described Mr Akinyemi, who worked in security, as "quirky", "funny" and someone who seemed like he had "good morals".

Speaking about their friendship, having known each other since the 1990s, Mr Coghlan said: "I would genuinely believe it was impossible for him and me to fall out about anything in that relationship. I would invite him into my home."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A fresh inquest into the death of Stephen Akinyemi is being held at London's Royal Courts of Justice

Mr Coghlan told a previous inquest in 2011 that Mr Akinyemi, who was allegedly part of a Manchester drugs gang, had pulled a gun on him at his home in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

He said it went off in a struggle during which the businessman was stabbed several times.

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

Mr Coghlan was also among three people who were stabbed at a Stockport nightclub on New Year's Day in 2008.

Porsche nameplates

He said that he was later told by Mr Akinyemi: "That was not supposed to happen."

Mr Akinyemi said a "young kid" had "got it wrong" when he rushed into the club, according to Mr Coghlan.

Mr Coghlan told the inquest: "I think he (Akinyemi) was justifying about not doing anything about it himself.

"His friend had stabbed me in the back. His whole narrative was that it should not have happened. He was only a young kid."

Mr Coghlan also recalled tensions between Mr Akinyemi and another man called Phil Atkinson who shared the same nickname.

"The only words I ever heard between them were tense," he said.

Both men had Porsches with personalised licence plates, one which read "AKI" and the other which said "AKY", and Mr Atkinson had claimed he had bought his from footballer Ronaldo, according to Mr Coghlan.

The inquest continues.

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