A young man stabbed in the heart on New Year’s Eve – two days before his birthday – was killed unlawfully, the East London Coroner’s court has ruled this morning (Monday, March 28). Taofeek Lamidi, 20, from Lambeth, was surrounded by friends as he bled to death from a “horrific” stab wound to the heart.
The inquest heard a detailed account from witness David Lipasso, who recalled the fatal night at the Memorial Recreation Ground in West Ham when a fight broke out between his best friend Taofeek, known to his friends as Cyrus, and a suspect identified in court as Ahmed Mohamed, known as Ash, who was 20 at the time.
David alleged Ash drove into the car park and David then shouted out “oi oi” to confront him about £15 he owed him over a damaged hat. He then told Cyrus that he was “going to get [his] money”. David claimed he saw Ash reach for money from his jacket and get out the car, but suddenly “Cyrus went whack and hit Ash with his fist” knocking him back into the car. There was then a £20 note on the floor and Ash said “take it”.
READ MORE:Rapist rapped that he was ‘stressed’ he couldn’t get consensual sex after attacking women
However, the attack on New Year’s Eve 2017 at about 8pm, turned ugly as it turned out Cyrus had a separate dispute with Ash over allegedly revealing his home address. David claimed to detectives Cyrus hit Ash another three times and every time they tried to calm him down he struck again. “Cyrus said to Ash ‘What are you still here for?’,” he added. Things escalated as Cyrus returned with a broom handle and struck Ash’s Vauxhall Astra twice, smashing the driver side window the second time. Two to three people were needed to stop him before Ash drove away.
David said he tried to calm Cyrus down again and told him to come back to his house to “celebrate his birthday, chill, smoke weed”. At this point Cyrus began to consider he had “hit the wrong person”. However, a car suddenly returned at speed “with the lights on, it was bright”. It was claimed in court that Ash was joined by a friend identified as ‘Steven’ who “likes to sort out problems”.
‘Ash’s hand thrust forward and blood was then seen from Cyrus’ puffer jacket’
As they got out David said he noticed Ash had a “Nike glove on his left hand” and “his right hand down the back of his trousers”, adding “I thought it was a knife and said to Ash ‘Do not use that’.” David went on to claim he stood between the two while ‘Ash’ shouted at Cyrus “You’re a pussy”. He added: “I was thinking ‘You just got beaten up and now you are going to piss him off again’.”
Then he recalled Cyrus barking back “What?! Are you talking to me like that because you have got a knife?”, before leaving to get the stick he had used before. David saw Cyrus “coming with the weapon” but did not stop him and said “please just leave it”. Then he “saw Ash’s hand thrust forward” past his right shoulder, though he did not “actually see a knife”.
He alleged: “I heard Cyrus’s puffer jacket go poof and then saw blood. My instant reaction was to bang Ash in his face but he then swung the knife at me.” Cyrus then swung for Ash’s head and slipped. He continued: “Ash hit him in his ribs with his right hand, then grabbed his head and was shouting over and over ‘You pussy’ and thrust his right hand into his body multiple times.”
‘Cyrus only realised how bad it was when he went into the light’
At this point David said Ash escaped and he was held back from chasing him by Steven who had driven Ash back to the park. David clarified Cyrus had not initially realised the extent of his own wounds until he “came into the light and I saw the blood”.
Nearby student nurse Lena Elaine Taylor rushed to the scene after being alerted by a neighbour. She grabbed surgical gloves and a first aid kit before finding Taofeek “slumped onto a bollard” unconscious and wrapped in a quilt with “massive” stab wounds to the chest. As she said “he’s not breathing” she recalled one friend crying “please do not say that”.
Desperate attempts were made by Bart’s NHS Trust Dr Thomas Evans at the scene, who identified four major wounds – including to the liver, ribs, and heart. He made incisions to staple shut the wounded heart, a blood transfusion, and a further direct transfusion to the heart, but was unable to save Taofeek, confirming his death at 8:20pm.
Detective chief inspector Wayne Jolley gave an overview statement on the murder investigation and said the man identified as ‘Steven’ had refused to cooperate with police. Ahmed Mohamed – who fled to Nairobi days after the killing – is currently wanted for murder.
Making his conclusion, assistant coroner Ian Wade said although Taofeek may have acted unlawfully himself “it certainly did not justify the lethal use of a sharp bladed weapon four times on the unprotected body of Taofeek Lamidi”. He went on to say the CPS prosecution for murder is “entirely justified”, ruling Taofeek’s death an “unlawful killing”.
Hello, I am a news reporter for MyLondon. I cover stories across the capital every day.
I qualified as a journalist last year and studied English and History at university, with a special interest in medieval London.
I love London because you’ve never seen it all. Also – all the food.
Some recent stories I am most proud of are this report on the killing of a restaurant owner in Elephant and Castle, this weird situation a Kings College student found herself in, and my review of eating a pigs ear salad in Bloomsbury.
Got a story? Get in touch by emailing [email protected] or WhatsApp me on 07580255582.
You can also follow me on Twitter @cudlum.
Did you know the man and would like to pay tribute? If so, please email [email protected]
Do you want the latest news in your area sent straight to your inbox? It only takes a few seconds! Click here.