Rotherham FedEx driver warned of 'death' before boss's stabbing - court

Philip Woodcock
Philip Woodcock was fatally injured on 2 November in 2022

A FedEx driver who is accused of killing his manager had warned colleagues "today there will be a death", a court has heard.

Ronald Sekanjako, 49, allegedly stabbed Philip Woodcock, 60, at the Rotherham depot last November in a row over pay.

Mr Sekanjako, who was later charged with murder, was told he had been suspended by FedEx on the day of the attack, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Mr Sekanjako, of Bellhouse Road, Sheffield, denies murder.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Sekanjako also pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and three counts of possession of an offensive weapon.

At Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday, the jury heard that Mr Sekanjako had made the warning on the morning of 2 November 2022.

It was on that day he had been told he was suspended from work due to an alleged petrol theft the previous day, prosecutor Katherine Goddard KC said.

Ms Goddard told the court that Mr Sekanjako had left a Morrisons petrol station in Rotherham without paying, telling the cashier it was because FedEx owed him money.

That incident led to Mr Sekanjako's suspension, as senior managers at the FedEx Hellaby branch in Rotherham were worried about reputational damage.

Ms Goddard said Mr Sekanjako was not told of his suspension until he came in to work the following morning.

Witnesses said he "wasn't very happy" at the decision, but he left the premises intent on coming back once Mr Woodcock, his boss, started his shift.

Ms Goddard told the jury that Mr Sekanjako returned later that morning, armed with two knives and a hammer, and made his way to the office area upstairs.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, witnesses detailed how, on arrival, Mr Sekanjako started shouting and insisting that FedEx owed him money.

One witness told the court: "He was calling us thieves and racists, demanding he's paid and, on at least two occasions, he did say, 'today there will be a death'."

The witness added that they "did not think too much of it" at the time.

Meanwhile, another witness said Mr Sekanjako's comment did not appear to have been aimed at anyone in particular.

Mr Woodcock was then said to have invited Mr Sekanjako into his office to establish which invoice had not been paid.

Three colleagues attempted to follow, but Mr Sekanjako "slammed" the office door shut and locked it, the court heard.

'Fading away'

One witness said that as they tried to force the door open, they saw through the office window that Mr Woodcock's facial expression changed.

"There was something he had seen that scared him to death," the witness told the jury.

Another witness said they then saw Mr Sekanjako strike out at Mr Woodcock with a knife before they eventually managed to break into the office.

"As I'm dragging Phil out, [Mr Sekanjako] stabbed Phil in his heart," the witness said.

"I didn't leave Phil. When I held him, he was going grey. There was blood gushing out of his wound. He was fading away in my hands."

Despite efforts to save his life, Mr Woodcock was pronounced dead at 10:38 GMT.

A post-mortem examination concluded he had died from stab wounds.

The trial continues.

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