A man has been jailed for 23 and a half years after being found guilty for the murder 39 year old Dennis Anderson with a 12.5 inch zombie knife that the judge described as “fearful”.
Jahmel Michael Riley, 24, of Lordship Lane, East Dulwich slashed Dennis’ throat with force after he refused Riley a cigarette outside an off-licence on Lordship Lane in February this year.
Dennis’ partner of 23 years, Leeane Manzi, said: “On the night that he so brutally attacked, Dennis showed the heroic qualities that we all knew him for by trying to protect other members of the public and stop the situation escalating.
“This did not surprise us when we found out, as looking out for others summed up Dennis’ character.”
Dennis and family
On February 10, Dennis was returning home from a party in the early hours of the morning, when he went into the Payless Food and Wine off-licence on Lordship Lane with a group of friends.
Riley was already present in the shop when the victim arrived and had been aggressively asking customers in the store if he could have a cigarette.
He asked Dennis the same question who refused and an argument broke out between the two.
Riley appeared to walk towards the door as if to leave the premises but then unsheathed a large hunting knife.
Witnesses saw Riley raise the knife before Dennis stepped towards him and attempted to wrestle the weapon out of his hands.
CCTV showed the struggle between the two men inside before they spilled out into the street through the door.
It was here that external footage from the store showed Riley and Dennis on the floor with Riley making a stabbing motion towards the left side of his Dennis’ body causing a deep cut to his neck.
Riley was dragged off by Dennis’s friends and hit, before fleeing the scene towards Crawthew Grove.
Detectives tracked down Riley’s address and once Riley knew the police were looking for him he handed himself in three days after the incident.
Riley in shop with knife
Dennis’ partner Leeane added: “The end of the court case is a bitter sweet feeling for us as a family. We are pleased with the verdict, as it has taken one very violent and dangerous person off of the streets.
“We are hoping it also teaches others a lesson that carrying and using knives is a life sentence for all. This would not have been possible without the hard-working, dedicated and compassionate work of the police that have supported us from the very beginning.
“The sentence does not change a thing for us. As a family we are also serving a life sentence, this has left our hearts shattered and our lives turned upside down.
“We have fought one battle and now for us the real fight begins, learning to live a life without our Dennis.”
HHJ Hilliard QC, the ruling judge, said: “We see and hear a lot about knife crime these days and if ever a case demonstrated the curse of carrying knives it is this case. What might have otherwise been a verbal disagreement becomes a murder case because the defendant was carrying that terrible weapon.”
Detective Inspector Domenica Catino, from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, who has led the investigation, said: “This is a very tragic incident that has left me filled with anguish as Dennis Anderson’s death was totally avoidable.
“Witnesses of the attack, including close friends of the victim, and CCTV footage showed that Riley had chances to avoid the confrontation and the leave the off-license. The two men did not know each other and Dennis was killed solely because he refused Riley’s request for a cigarette. That is the value that Riley places on life.
“My deepest sympathies extend to Dennis’ family and friends, particularly those that witnessed a shocking event unfold in such a needless manner.”
“I want to thank them for their support throughout this investigation and thank the hard work and commitment of the murder investigation team. I can only also praise the public, officers and paramedics who tried valiantly to keep Dennis alive.”