12:33pm Friday 11th May 2012
By Guardian court reporter
A GRANDFATHER was stabbed to death in front of his family in a café after he asked the killer if his crying daughter was OK, a court heard.
Alan Smith, 63, was knifed repeatedly in the Roma Café in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, by 26-year-old Matthew Quesada in March last year.
Doctors who rushed to the scene performed open-heart surgery on a table in the café in a desperate attempt to save him, but Mr Smith died in hospital later that afternoon.
Quesada admits the killing but denies being criminally responsible because of mental illness.
Roger Smart, prosecuting, said the pair first met at the nearby BB Café shortly before the attack.
When Mr Smith asked about Quesada's weeping daughter he allegedly snapped: "What's it to you? What's it got to f***ing do with you?"
Mr Smart said: "He left his daughter at home and picked up a knife, intent upon seeking revenge upon the deceased for having, perhaps, humiliated him."
After the row, Mr Smith moved on to the Roma Cafe where he met his daughter to celebrate her birthday, along with his long-term partner Denise and son-in-law.
Mr Smart said: "Matthew Quesda entered the cafe soon after the deceased and his family had sat down inside and, without a word, launched into a deadly attack upon Alan Smith - stabbing him to [sic] the head, and crucially, to the body.
"During this frenzied and wordless attack, Quesada stabbed Mr Smith at least five times, causing fatal wounds."
Following the attack, Quesada ran to his home in Hibbert Road, Walthamstow, by jumping over garden fences, before burning his clothes and cutting his hair.
He was arrested the following day in his mother's car, clutching a plane ticket to Sao Paulo, Brazil, which was due to take off within hours.
His 26-year-old girlfriend, Maria Brigette, who he lived with, is accused of helping him to avoid detectives.
It is claimed she kept her partner updated on the whereabouts of police in the area by text message.
Quesada's 54-year-old mother Victoria Passley-Quesada, of Lower Barn Road in Purley, is also said to have helped her son to change his appearance and research flights, while letting him lie low at her home.
The women deny the charges.
The trial is expected to last about two or three weeks.
Mr Smith, who had a house in Hibbert Road, Walthamstow, only moved to the area the year before and spent most of his life living in Islington.
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