Man guilty of teenage knife-dealer’s murder

Man guilty of teenage knife-dealer’s murder

2 days ago

By Jeremy Britton, BBC News

Met Police Elijah Gokool-MelyMet Police

Elijah Gokool-Mely, 18, stabbed Victor Lee three times before pushing him in canal

A teenager has been found guilty of killing a 17-year-old who was stabbed three times and pushed into a canal.

Victor Lee, from Ealing, was found in the Grand Union Canal in north-west London in June last year.

Elijah Gokool-Mely, 18, from White City, was convicted of murder and robbery by majority verdicts of 11 to one.

A jury at the five-week trial at the Old Bailey found two co-defendants, aged 15 and 16, not guilty of murder, manslaughter and robbery.

Mr Lee was attacked on the towpath under Scrubs Lane as he tried to sell knives to his killer.

He was stabbed twice in the back and once in the chest and pushed into the water.

Although two men pulled him out he bled to death on the bank.

Mr Lee had gone to meet the three defendants for “sinister” reasons, the trial heard.

grey placeholderLee family Victor LeeLee family

Victor Lee bought knives and crossbows online to sell at a profit

Prosecution barrister Crispin Aylett KC told the court that Mr Lee had been buying weapons online and selling them for a profit.

He sold a crossbow to the defendants who later contacted him to ask if he had any knives to sell.

He sent a photograph of three knives and five knife boxes, the court heard.

Gokool-Mely returned to the towpath at about 17:30 BST on a bike.

One witness saw Gokool-Mely push Mr Lee into the canal after he had already been stabbed, the court heard, but there were no witnesses to the actual murder.

‘A dangerous game’

The jury heard that Mr Lee was “aspirational” and had started off by selling bicycles, but had also started buying knives online for onward sale.

He had altered his date of birth on his passport so he seemed old enough to legally buy weapons.

Police found knives and boxes of blades in his bedroom.

“I suppose you might say that Victor Lee had been playing a dangerous game,” said Mr Aylett.

A knife box recovered from the murder scene was found to bear the fingerprints of Gokool-Mely and a knife found nearby had his DNA profile on the handle and Mr Lee’s blood on the blade.

Gokool-Mely claimed he had acted in self-defence after Mr Lee drew two knives on him.

He had admitted later boasting in drill lyrics about committing a crime but said this was only to make himself appear important.

‘Life ahead of him’

Following the verdict Det Ch Insp Brian Howie, the senior investigating Met Police officer, said: “Victor was a young man who was not directly involved with gangs or criminality – he had an interest in buying, fixing and selling bikes.

“He had energy and drive but sadly not enough wisdom. His family have told me that he had an inability to properly assess situations, people or threats.”

Det Ch Insp Howie said it would “forever be a source of regret” to him that Victor was able to buy weapons online “simply by altering the date of birth in his passport”.

“He probably regarded this as an interesting scheme to make some money. But, having met his killer after arranging to sell the weapons via Snapchat, this scheme sparked the events which cost him his life,” he said.

“Victor had his life ahead of him and his family have been torn apart by what happened to him. I can only hope that today’s conviction can bring them some small measure of comfort.”

Sentencing was adjourned until 19 July.

https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c1eeyxvvv0eo

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