A prankster was attacked and killed in Reading, England on Valentine’s Day. His friend had sent him a joke text.

Yannick Cupido was 24, and was fatally attacked in the chest at an off-licence. This happened after a terrible joke he was making turned into a tragedy.

He fled to an alleyway but was seen to stumble to the ground and then succumb to his injuries only yards from his mother’s front doors. 

O’Neal Joseph, 28 is being tried at Reading Crown Court. He is charged with his murder.

The jury was shown CCTV footage on Tuesday of Joseph allegedly ambushing Mr Cupido after he became angry at spoof messages.

Yannick Cupido , 24, was stabbed outside an off-licence just yards from his mother's front door, the court heard

The court heard that Yannick Cupido, 24, was stabbed just yards from his mother’s front door at an off-licence.

Police at the scene of the stabbing in Managua Close, Caversham, following the incident

Police responding to the stabbing at Managua Close, Caversham

The court heard from Reece Weatherburn that Mr Cupido and Mollie Brookes had started sending bogus messages on February 13th to Mollie Brookes. They claimed Weatherburn was being held in connection with a stabbing. 

Matthew Walsh, opening the prosecution’s case said that O’Neal, a close friend of Weatherburn also got wind of the messages, and took them at face price before becoming worried and angry.

He told the court: ‘Joseph became increasingly angry during the evening, particularly when he couldn’t get hold of either Weatherburn or Mr Cupido.

“Learning that this was a joke appears to have been the catalyst for an argument, and the exchange of angry texts between him and Mr Cupido, when he finally made contact with him by phone.

‘Mr Cupido made no apology for sending the spoof messages and Joseph’s temperature seemed to go up and up.’

The jury was informed that Weatherburn and Mr Cupido were together in the flat of Battle Square, Reading at the time the prank began.

In one angry response, Joseph told the Mr Cupido: ‘On my kid’s life, if something happens to r1 [a nickname for Weatherburn] and you just hung up on me and didn’t tell me where he is, I’m going to f*****g kill you yk [a nickname for Mr Cupido].

The murder happened just hours after police had issued a Section 60 order, giving officers additional powers to stop and search people suspected of carrying weapons

The murder occurred just hours after police issued a Section 60 order giving officers additional powers to stop or search suspects of carrying weapons.

Forensic officers searching for evidence in Managua Close, where the stabbing took place

Forensic officers looking for evidence in Managua Close where the stabbing occurred

Just after the messages were sent, Mr Cupido departed Weatherburn’s Flat at 11.30pm.

A court heard that there was an argument between the two, which led to Mr Cupido walking three miles to his mother’s house in Lower Caversham.

Jurors were shown how Joseph is said to have gone to stalk the estate in search of Mr Cupido.

Mr Walsh said: ‘The prosecution case is that Joseph knew that Mr Cupido was heading to his mother’s address on Nire Road, Lower Caversham.

Weatherburn or Mr Cupido had told him that. He fled the house to search for him. He wanted to confront his anger.

They finally met at 12.30am, half an hours into Valentine’s Day. Joseph found Mr Cupido in a Best-One store just yards from his mother’s house.

The CCTV footage showed the couple squaring up and appearing to arue, as they circled each other.

It is said that Joseph was headbutted during the altercation by Mr Cupido.

The jury was then shown the moment Joseph stabbed Mr Cupido, before the younger man fled via an alleyway nearby.

Joseph has admitted to stabbing Mr Cupido but claimed it was self-defence.

After the trial was delayed by nearly two weeks because of illness, the defendant, wearing a blue suit, listened intently from the dock.

The 24-year-old victim was stabbed in the street in Managua Close at around 1am on Valentine's Day

The victim, aged 24 years, was stabbed in Managua Close in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

Mr Walsh said, “They are together for approximately two-and-a half minutes. They are both animated and there is movement. 

“It appears that Mr Cupido dropped an item into the gutter after being stabbed at the end.

‘By 12.33am Mr Cupido, having been stabbed in their chest, can be seen to move on to Managua Close. 

“He can be seen falling to the ground. Although paramedics arrived quickly and did their best, Mr Cupido was in rapid decline to his death.

After getting emotional when the jury was shown footage of Mr Cupido’s son being stabbed to the floor, his mother had to be taken out of courtroom.

The CCTV showed that Mr Cupido was trying to get up and then fell a few times.

Joseph sent a text message to his former partner following the incident.

It said: ‘As soon as he said “what” to me, I’ve grabbed a shank in my hand, and as soon as he said “what yea”, he’s gone what, boom, I’ve pulled the shank out BLOAH straight into his chest.’

Weatherburn and Joseph were former friends who sat in the dock socially apart but did not acknowledge one another throughout proceedings.

Joseph, of Amersham Road (Caversham), denies murder. He had previously admitted to possessing a bladed item in a public area. 

Weatherburn, Nire Road, Caversham denies two counts each of aiding an offender through impeding prosecution.

The trial continues.