Three teenage gangsters have been convicted of murdering a Marks and Spencer shop assistant in a “random” stabbing.
Anthony “Lizzy” Adekola, 22, was repeatedly stabbed and killed as he walked home from a shift at the Colindale store in North London on the evening of September 5 last year.
He fell to the ground as he was chased close to his home in the Grahame Park Estate, before the group inflicted a brutal attack in which he suffered nine stab wounds.
CCTV footage showed Anthony standing on the pavement, speaking to them for a few seconds before suddenly running away.
The jury heard during the trial that Anthony was in the “wrong place at the wrong time” as when he was confronted by a group of gangsters who had travelled into the rival NW9 postcode area.
Anthony was walking home when two taxis pulled up and eight young men got out.
CCTV footage showed the him being stopped by the group and after a brief exchange, he turned and ran.
Anthony tried to make it home, but tripped over a concrete bollard on the way into the alley, where he was caught by the suspects.
The group then stabbed him at least nine times in the face, head, neck, back, chest, arms and leg. The fatal stab wound to his neck severed the carotid artery and jugular vein.
The attackers then returned to the waiting taxis and made off.
Mr Adekola was found badly injured and bleeding by his brother and concerned friends who retraced his route.
Police arrived at 11.15pm and found him surrounded by people applying pressure to the neck wound.
Medics carried out emergency surgery at the scene, but despite their efforts, he was pronounced dead at 11.45pm.
The post mortem examination gave the cause of death as haemorrhage and a stab wound to the neck. There were nine injuries to Anthony’s body, the most serious being this wound to the neck.
It was also clear that more than one knife was used, of varying lengths and blades.
Bill Emlyn Jones QC, prosecuting, told the court there was no evidence of a personal connection between the victim and his attackers.
He added: “We are left with the awful prospect that he was selected and killed at random.”
The attackers had come from and returned to Hendon – in the NW4 postcode – while the victim was in the NW9 area.
Mr Emlyn Jones said: “It is the prosecution case that the defendants were on a raid into enemy territory, something known as a ‘ride out’.
“When they got to NW9, it didn’t matter to them who they stabbed – it was enough to show their NW9 rivals that they could turn up on enemy territory and attack who they liked.”
Following the defendants’ arrests their electronic devices were examined, the court heard.
A Snapchat message four days after the murder was recovered from the iPad of one of the youths.
Headed: “This is for your own safety”, it stated: “Grahame Park and Hendon are having a war because of the stabbing that happened (RIP Lizzy) so when you finished skl no more concourse it’s straight home cause if Hendon man catch you it’s peak cause they don’t care.”
The court heard the 17-year-old youth identified himself as a “Hendon man”.
Police also recovered text messages from his mother on the morning after the murder telling him to come home and accusing him of taking her knives.
A black face mask dropped at the scene was linked to him by his DNA.
The other 17-year-old defendant had drafted a text message “Fuk d 9 1000 times” in apparent reference to the rival NW9 postcode, jurors were told.
On another device belonging to the same youth, police found what appeared to be revenge drill rap lyrics.
The lyrics stated a desire to go to “the 9” and “catch me an opp” (rival) and “get dem back”.
A lyric created about three weeks after the murder referred to being “in the 9 from night till morning”.
It ended with the chilling words: “Chasing opps is fun, I love the thrill wen I see an opp boy run (sic)”.
CCTV footage from the evening identified the youth from his clothing.
Both youths accepted being present but denied involvement in the stabbing.
It was alleged that Subaran had helped to book the taxis.
Traces of blood on a trainer belonging to Subaran matched Anthony’s DNA.
An examination of the defendants’ phones revealed that they all appeared to have switched them off for half an hour, coinciding with the time of the ride out.
The jury, which deliberated for 21 hours, was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on a fifth defendant, Christian Medina, 20.
The prosecution asked for four weeks to decide whether to seek a retrial in his case.
Judge Simon Mayo QC adjourned sentencing until November 5.