Seven men charged with causing the death of a Watford man have appeared in court today for the start of a murder trial.

Luke O’Connell died after being stabbed following a three-vehicle crash in Gammons Lane, Watford, on August 31 last year.

Aamir Mustafa, 22, of no fixed address, Shahnavaz Azad, 27, of no fixed address, Umar Sarfraz, 21, of Whippendell Road, Watford, Mohammed Haroon Azad, 21, no fixed address, Mohammed Hamza Shah, 20 of Hagden Lane, Watford, Hamza Azad, 23, of Nicholas Close, Watford and Mohammed Hussnain, 24, of St. Georges Road, Watford have all been charged with Mr O’Connell’s murder and wounding with intent. 

Mohammed Raja Azad, 48, of Nicholas Close, Watford, has been charged with perverting the course of justice.

All eight men -- who deny the charges -- appeared at Reading Crown Court today (July 26) for the start of the murder trial.

Read more - Luke O'Connell murder trial moved as courts struggle with backlogs

Legal arguments were heard in the morning before a jury was selected in the afternoon.

Pending any changes, a dozen jurors will be sworn in tomorrow (July 27).

The trial is being held at Reading Crown Court after a trial at Harrow Crown Court collapsed in May 2020 due to the Judge presiding over the case being forced to self-isolate.

Judge Heather Norton said the trial is expected to last seven weeks.

It will resume at Reading Crown Court tomorrow morning.