Three young men have been found guilty of the ‘random’ murder of a Marks and Spencer shop assistant who was targeted in a postcode gang ‘ride out’ into enemy territory.
Anthony Adekola, 22, was walking home from his shift at Marks and Spencer when a group of young men leapt out of two taxis and dragged him down an alleyway in Colindale, north west London.
After a short chase, Adekola was repeatedly stabbed more than nine times and died at the scene despite paramedics conducting emergency surgery, in what jurors heard may have been a horrifying ‘random’ attack.
Following an Old Bailey trial, Tajaun Subaran, 19, and two 17-year-olds, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, from neighbouring Hendon, north-west London, were found guilty of murder.
Jurors were told that Mr Adekola was in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ as he chanced upon a group of young men who had travelled into the rival NW9 postcode area.
Anthony Adekola, 22, was walking home from a shift at Marks and Spencer when a group of young men leapt out of two taxis and dragged him down an alleyway in Colindale, north west London
Mr Adekola was near his home on the Grahame Park Estate when two taxis pulled up and eight young men got out.
CCTV footage showed the victim being stopped by the group and after a brief exchange, he turned and ran.
He collided with a stone bollard and fell to the ground in Martlesham Walk as the chasing pack closed in.
The group then subjected Mr Adekola to a brutal attack, stabbing him at least nine times in the face, head, neck, back, chest, arms and leg.
The group subjected Mr Adekola (pictured) to a brutal attack, stabbing him at least nine times in the face, head, neck, back, chest, arms and leg which ultimately killed him
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.
Bill Emlyn Jones QC, prosecuting, told jurors there was no evidence of a personal connection between the victim and his attackers.
‘We are left with the awful prospect that he was selected and killed at random,’ he said.
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.’
Friends of the 22-year-old paid tribute to him after his death, including one peer who told the BBC Mr Adekola’s murder ‘hurt like nothing else’.
They said: ‘You motivated me to do what I loved most in life, you lived a playful life and infected others with your smile and subtle charm.’
Following the defendants’ arrests their electronic devices were examined, the court heard.
Following an Old Bailey trial, Tajaun Subaran, 19, and two 17-year-olds, who cannot be identified, from neighbouring Hendon, north-west London, were found guilty of murder
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 ‘F** 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 Mr Adekola’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 defendants denied being involved in the attack on Mr Adekola.
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.