The family of a young father killed outside a mosque in a trivial argument over “respect” have expressed their hope no other families have to suffer the same.
Bilal Kargbo, 25, who worked in a phone outlet nearby, was stabbed to death in front of worshippers and shoppers, including children, in Blenheim Grove, Peckham, by Parrish Ofoeme after a confrontation over who was disrespecting who.
The killer, 23, of Burrage Road, Greenwich, has been jailed for life for murder after initially trying to claim he had grabbed the knife from his victim. He later had to admit he had been carrying it “for his own protection”.
Ofoeme had stabbed Bilal three times at about 3.15pm on April 28 during an altercation outside a mobile phone shop in Rye Lane, Peckham. He was found guilty on Wednesday of the murder of the father-of-three. He was also found guilty of possession of an offensive weapon.
Bilal’s mother, Zainab Fofanah, was in court to hear for the first time the detail of what happened. She said: “I want to say to my son’s killer ‘You didn’t know him. Why did you stab him?’ “As a mother, I don’t understand why anyone would do this. “After some years, he will come out of prison. But my son is gone. I will never see him again.
I will not have anyone to console me later in life. “I cannot stop crying. I cannot sleep. All I can do is pray.” Kargbo’s uncle, Bashir Sesay, said: “His mother is distraught. She is just trying to cope. “At least justice has been done.
But it needs to be spelt out to these young people as a deterrent, that there are consequences to your actions. Everything people do affects other people. “Our family is having to deal with the loss of a kind young man and father.
It is difficult even now for the family to accept he is gone. “There is nothing more we can do.” “He was her son and it is a huge loss. Every step we now have to take is new. Nothing like this has happened to the family or anyone we know. “We hope no other family has to go through this.”
The conviction followed a two-week trial at Inner London Crown Court. Ofoeme was sentenced the same day to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 21 years. He was given a two-year sentence, to run concurrently, for possession of the knife.
Bilal had gone to the shop with a friend who was having his phone repaired. He encountered Ofoeme outside the shop, and a row developed between the two men over perceived disrespect and who may have been staring at who.
Police officers gave emergency first aid before paramedics arrived, but Bilal was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 4pm. A police identification identified Ofoeme through witness accounts and phone records.
He was arrested at a relative’s address in Enfield on May 1, and was charged with the murder three days later. Ofoeme claimed self-defence, and gave a false account insisting that he had taken the knife used in the attack from the victim.
Eventually he was forced to admit the knife belonged to him and that he carried it “for his own protection” after a previous, unrelated attack on a relative.
Investigating Officer Detective Sergeant Jason Grafham, of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “As a result of his habitual carrying of a knife, Parrish Ofoeme stabbed Bilal to death following a pathetic argument about respect.
“This took place in a busy street in front of children, local shoppers and worshippers leaving a local mosque.
“It had a devastating impact upon the victim’s family, including his children, who have lost their father.
“I want to make it clear that we will pursue not only those who commit such heinous crimes, but also those who choose to carry weapons.
“You will be found, you will be arrested and you will be held to account.” l ‘Why mothers must talk to their sons to stop knife crime’ – see our full interview with Bilal Karbo’s mother in Tuesday’s South London Press