A gangster helped lure and trap two rival drug dealers before taking part in their "swift, frenzied and utterly brutal" murders, a court has heard.

Abderrahmane Lounici, 26, was allegedly part of a group who led Josiah Manful and Aaron Carriere down a quiet residential street before their vehicle was boxed in by four cars and the pair were stabbed 24 times in under a minute, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.

Both died at the scene in Montague Road, Leytonstone in the early hours of March 1, 2014.

Opening the prosecution case today (Wednesday, September 25), Lisa Wilding QC said: "The occupants of the four cars that boxed in that lone vehicle got out and ran to the trapped car.

"Inside it were two young men, Josiah Manful who was 20 years old and Aaron Carriere who was 21.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Abderrahmani Lounici took part in a stabbing, jurors at the Old Bailey were told. Photo: Google Street View

"Less than a minute later those two men were fatally wounded having been stabbed in a swift, frenzied and utterly brutal attack that left Manful with 13 wounds and Carriere with 11.

"Their mission accomplished, the assailants ran back to the four cars which sped off into the night less than a minute after they arrived.

"Abderrahmane Lounici was amongst those within the four cars.

"The occupants of those cars were working as a team, with a plan, which was to lure Manful and Carriere into a trap."

Mobile phone with contacts list was stolen, court hears

Lounici, who was 21 at the time, denies two counts of murder.

The prosecution alleges the plot to kill the rival drug dealers stemmed from a postcode war between gangs in the E10 area of Leyton and the E11 area of Leytonstone.

A mobile phone belonging to "successful" crack cocaine and heroin dealer Carriere containing his contacts list was stolen during the murders, the court heard.

Ms Wilding went on: "The ferocity of the attack, which was inflicted upon men who were helpless and trapped in their car seats, by a pack of men who surrounded the car, the use of at least two knives ... the stab wounds to the neck and torso that killed them, were all intended to cause at least very serious harm to the two men and, we say, was intended to kill them."

Lounici's blood and DNA found in a car, jury told

In late 2014, seven men stood trial over the killings with four convicted of murder and three cleared by a jury, the court heard.

Ms Wilding added: "This defendant would have been tried beside those men for his role in the murders, however, he fled the country by flying to Algeria two days after the murders and returned only this year."

Lounici's blood and DNA were found in the rear seat of one of the cars used to trap the black Ford Fiesta carrying the victims, the court heard.

The trial, before judge Rebecca Poulet QC, continues.