22/12/2011

Five Sentenced Over Fatal Stabbing Of Teenager

Five teenagers, who fatally stabbed a pupil at the start of the school day have been sentenced to a total minimum of 76 years' imprisonment.

Zac Olumegbon was just 15-years-old and about to start the day at his school in Gipsy Road, West Norwood, when he was chased and stabbed to death.

A second pupil, a boy aged 15 was also attacked and stabbed during the same incident on Friday 2 July last year.

During an eight week trial ending on 21 November, the jury heard that the events which lead to Zac's murder had its origin in rivalry between young gangs.

On the morning of his death at about 8.35am, Zac and other pupils were milling about in and around the school waiting for the doors to open.

A teacher walking towards the school saw Zac and his friend and spoke to them. At that moment a stolen green Nissan Almera containing the five suspects drove past at speed.

According to police, the car approached the school and Jermael Moore, Ricardo Giddings, Shaquille Haughton and Kyle Kinghorn burst out. Helder Demorais who was the driver remained in the vehicle.

Haughton immediately approached the other 15-year-old boy, who was standing by the entrance of the school and stabbed him numerous times in the body with a large knife. It is thought he wrongly assumed this boy was Zac.

By now Moore, Kinghorn and Giddings - who was holding a large knife - were chasing a terrified Zac towards Gipsy Road Gardens. Demorais was following the chase in the Nissan. Zac ran into one of the rear gardens where he found himself trapped. Here he was stabbed and mortally injured.

A teacher who had ran in the direction of Zac's attackers arrived in Gipsy Gardens to see the teenagers emerge from the rear garden drive away at speed.

Teachers and members of staff went into Gipsy Gardens where they found Zac who despite the efforts of paramedics and police officers, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Zac suffered two stab wounds to the chest, one penetrating his heart. He was also stabbed in the neck, wrist and buttock.

A murder investigation was immediately launched by detectives from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command who soon identified Kinghorn as a suspect.

Fingerprints and palm marks belonging to Haughton were also found by forensic officers searching the area where the first 15-year-old boy was attacked and the stolen Nissan was soon found dumped in close proximately to Demorais' home address. Zac's blood was found inside the car as were the fingerprints of all five defendants.

On 16 July a member of the public found a large hunting knife, wrapped in a big bag in an alleyway. Forensic examination of the knife found it to have Zac Olumegbon's DNA on it. It is believed that is was dumped at the location by Giddings who was captured on CCTV nearby concealing something in his right sleeve.

At the sentencing the judge commended police saying it was a "first class investigation by police" and made special mention of DI Rees, DS Reynolds, DC Jeffries and DC Vivash from the investigative team saying they "deserved credit for their work".

Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: "Zac Olumegbon was just 15 years old when he was murdered by boys who were not much older at the time. These boys carried out a planned and brutal attack on Zac in broad daylight in full view of terrified school children and teachers. They were arrogant enough to think they could commit this crime and get away with it. Their arrogance was continued in police custody.

"This case must act as a deterrent to other young people who think they will not be prosecuted or go to prison just because they did not deliver the fatal blow - the law on joint enterprise is clear and unforgiving - if you are with the knife man in a murder case you too could be found guilty and sent to prison."

(DW)

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