Teenager jailed for fatally stabbing two men in row outside nightclub

A teenager who stabbed three men, killing two, after an argument over a girl in a club has been jailed for a minimum of 28 years by a judge who said the case illustrated “the tragic consequences which can follow when a young man carries a knife in public”.

Rashane Douglas, 19, stabbed Haidar Shah, 19, Joshua Clark, 21, and Brandon Coupe, 18, in the chest within seconds of each other following a row outside a nightclub in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in the early hours of October 1 last year.

Mr Shah and Mr Clark died from their stab wounds, while Mr Coupe survived.

Joshua Clark sitting in a pub holding a pint of beer
Joshua Clark was one of two men killed (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

On Tuesday, Douglas was jailed for life with a minimum term of 28 years by Judge Jonathan Rose at Bradford Crown Court.

He was found guilty earlier this year of murdering Mr Clark and Mr Shah, and wounding Mr Coupe with intent.

Judge Rose told him: “This case is an illustration of the tragic consequences which can follow when a young man carries a knife in public.”

He said: “If you carry a knife, you are more likely to draw it; if you draw it, you are more likely to use it; if you use it, you are more likely to cause injury or death.”

The court heard how Douglas was angry that a woman he had been expecting to meet at Maggie’s bar was with Mr Shah instead.

The stabbings happened at 3.45am after Douglas with his friends, and Mr Shah with his friends Mr Clark and Mr Coupe, had all left the bar.

CCTV from the street outside showed Mr Coupe attempt to punch Douglas, before Mr Shah and Mr Clark cross the road towards him.

Prosecutors said Douglas then pulled a knife from his pocket and held it in his right hand, appearing to hide it behind his leg.

The footage then showed Douglas stabbing the three men, none of whom had a knife, before running away and apparently throwing the knife down a drain.

Douglas said in his evidence he carried a knife as he “didn’t feel safe”, but said it was intended to scare people away, not to be used.

The jury heard how, earlier, Douglas had approached a booth in the bar where the woman he had arranged to meet, Kiera Hamilton, was sitting with Mr Shah.

In mitigation, Naeem Mian KC, defending, urged leniency on the judge, saying: “To put it bluntly, (Douglas) didn’t start it,” pointing out how Mr Coupe threw the first punch and others were punching his client before he pulled out the knife.

But Judge Rose pointed out that Douglas brought a hidden knife to a club in order to use it and he was, at the time, subject to a suspended sentence for carrying a blade.

Douglas, of Jade Place, Huddersfield, could be seen on CCTV removing Mr Shah’s arm from around Ms Hamilton, and putting his own arm around her shoulders instead.

Ms Hamilton later told police Douglas “got angry” and asked her: “Why you sat in front of me doing this”, before asking Mr Shah his name and where he was from.

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Judge Rose said it was this “insignificant” confrontation inside the club, started by Douglas, which sparked the later violence.

Douglas told the trial that he stabbed the three men because he “thought he was going to die” and that he “lashed out with the knife in order to get away”.

Douglas’s friend Yaseen Iqbal, 18, of Hall Bower, Huddersfield, was found guilty of assisting an offender and jailed for 12 months.

Statements from Mr Shah and Mr Clark’s family were read outside the court.

Mr Shah’s mother, Yasmin, said: “No words can ever describe the way I am feeling about the loss of my beautiful son.

“The emptiness, the physical and mental pain, the gathering of family and friends mourning and the funeral.

“I am destroyed. I am confused. My head aches, my body aches, and my heart aches.

“No mother should go through what I am facing. I pray no mother buries their child, especially one who was as treasured as Haidar.”

Mr Clark’s mother Rachel, who is a police officer, said: “Now my life just feels so empty and dark. My new normal is trying to navigate my way through life without Josh in it now that his life has been cruelly and needlessly ripped away from him by the actions of a brutal killer.

“The cruel actions of one individual didn’t just take away my beloved son, but also shattered my sense of self. I have lost my identity as a mother.”

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Holdsworth said: “Two young men had their whole lives ahead of them and this tragic case illustrates only too well the appalling human cost of people carrying and using knives, and we hope it will serve as a very stark reminder to others of the terrible consequences of knife crime.”