A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 21 years for murdering another man he knew with large ‘Rambo’ knives over a row about a stolen motorbike.
Tyrone Farquharson, 20, of Archer Road, South Norwood was sentenced at the Old Bailey today, Friday 7 December, having been previously convicted at the same court on Thursday 25 October of killing 20-year-old Kelva Smith, above.
He was also sentenced to 18 months, to run concurrently, for possession of a knife.
Kelva was murdered on Monday, 5 March in South Norwood, Croydon, when Farquharson launched a sudden and violent knife attack on him in the street.
A 16-year-old boy from East Croydon, who was previously convicted of possessing an axe and conspiracy to rob – but was found not guilty of murder – will be sentenced on Wednesday 19 December.
A 14-year-old boy from the South Norwood area was previously found not guilty on all counts.
Detective Sergeant Rob Tickle from the Homicide & Major Crime Command said: “Today a young man was sentenced to life imprisonment for stabbing his former friend to death. It is important that people understand the reasoning for the minimum term imposed by the judge and that Farquharson will have to serve 21 years before he can even be considered for parole. Even then, he will have to convince a parole board that he is no longer a danger to the public. There is no reduction by half for sentencing in a murder case.
“Knife crime is the scourge of towns and cities and a blight on the futures of our young people, whether it be those who carry and use them or worse, those who suffer appalling and life changing injuries as a result of being attacked. The Smith family have paid the ultimate price with the death of Kelva. I feel that we have to do more as a society to stop this and change the mindset of those carry and use weapons.”
The original incident begun around 4pm on 5 March, when Kelva had arranged to meet Farquharson, who he knew well, in Archer Road.
Kelva wanted to talk about a motorbike he had stolen from Gordon Crescent, Croydon, several weeks before that he had intended to sell. However, it had gone missing the previous evening and during the course of 5 March, Kelva was told by his brother that Farquharson and a 14-year-old boy had been riding it round the local area.
Kelva walked to Archer Road with his cousin. They talked to Farquharson on the phone on the way and were frustrated because they thought Farquharson was not being honest about whether he had the bike or if he would return it.
In Archer Road, Kelva and his cousin were approached by the defendants. Angry words were exchanged and almost immediately Farquharson produced a large ‘Rambo’ style knife. The 16-year-old, aged 15 at the time, was brandishing an axe.
Farquharson lunged forward and stabbed Kelva. He was stabbed another four times, including to his left side and his abdomen. He and his cousin then ran off, pursued by the defendants.
The victims tried to retreat by running to some parked cars on the other side of the road. Kelva’s cousin picked up a piece of wood and tried to defend them. The wood broke in two and the victims ran into Albert Road, pursued by the group brandishing their weapons.
There Kelva collapsed on the pavement. His attackers fled and Kelva’s cousin and members of the public came to help him.
Police and the London Ambulance Service were quickly on scene and officers and paramedics fought to save Kelva’s life.
London’s Air Ambulance also attended, however none of the medical experts were able to stop the internal bleeding from the stab wound to Kelva’s abdomen and he died in Albert Road at 17:34hrs.
An investigation was launched by the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command.
They were able to confirm Farquharson and the 16-year-old were in the area of Birchanger Road, Woodside Green, near South Norwood on 5 March when Kelva had been told they were riding around.
Farquarson went to the house of a friend in Westgate Road and asked to borrow a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. The motorbike was parked outside and the friend’s dad let them search his tool box, thinking they needed to repair it. The teenager is understood to have picked up the axe from there.
Farquharson then left and met up with his co-defendant before going to Archer Road where Kelva and his cousin were attacked.
The incident was witnessed by a number of members of the public. After the attack one saw Farquharson walking back to his home; he was laughing and joking. The 16-year-old defendant was close by and their weapons were clearly visible.
They spent under a minute inside Farquharson’s address before coming back outside and walking to an alleyway off Albert Road, apparently looking for somewhere to dispose of their weapons. The weapons, however, were never recovered.
Both Farquharson and the 16-year-old handed themselves into Lewisham police station the day after Kelva’s murder. Police later found the stolen motorbike at the centre of the dispute at the back of flats in Albert Road.