Published: 1 June, 2012
by DAVID ST GEORGE
THE self-confessed killer of former Islington binman and bus driver Alan Smith, 63, decided against giving evidence to an Old Bailey jury this week.
Matthew Quesada, 26, followed the advice of his senior QC, Patrick Upward, and remained silent in the dock.
Just feet away sat the grieving relatives of grandad Mr Smith, who lived in Eden Grove, Holloway, for 30 years with partner Estelle before they moved to Leyton in 2010.
The close-knit family has been following the trial of jobless father-of-two Quesada for weeks and hearing the harrowing detail of how he launched a repeated knife attack on Mr Smith at a café in Leyton last year.
Mr Smith was attacked in front of his partner and other family members as they waited to enjoy a meal to celebrate his daughter’s birthday.
The victim’s only “crime” had been to ask why Quesada’s little girl was crying and in such distress, in an attempt to help.
Quesada, of Leyton, denies murder but admits manslaughter and claims diminished responsibility as a result of mental impairment.
The trial, before Judge Peter Rook, QC, is due to end next week.
Psychiatrists have been called for the prosecution and defence.
With Quesada in the dock are his mother, Victoria, 54, from Croydon, and the mother of his two children, Maria Brigitte, 26, who has given evidence and denied deliberately assisting him to avoid capture after the killing.
Earlier this week the court was told that Ms Brigitte sent a text message to Quesada on the evening of the murder. It read: “There’s police outside the door. They’re walking up and down the road.” Two smoke alarms were broken in the house and fragments of burnt clothing were found in the kitchen. The murder weapon was found under a cooker.
She denies helping Quesada to dispose of his clothes and murder weapon and says the smoke alarms were broken months before the murder.
She made phone calls back and forth to Quesada on the day of the attack but said she had no indication that he had killed a man.
Quesada, who “loathed” his father, lost control when he heard that his dad had died, she said.
“He smashed my fruit bowl. He was ranting and raving,” she added.
The trial continues.