Three men have been found guilty of the “senseless” murder of a teenager who was stabbed just once in the femoral artery in his leg – in a turf war he had taken no part in.
Adam Benzahi, 21, of Croydon; Samuel Oliver-Rowland, 18 of Epsom Road, Croydon; and Junior Simpson, 17, of Northdown Crescent, Croydon were found guilty of killing 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall on Wednesday following a month-long trial at the Old Bailey.
Saskia Haye-Elliot, 18, of Northdowns Crescent, Croydon was found guilty of manslaughter.
Victim Jermaine was with friends outside the Costcutter shop in Green Lane, Croydon on the evening of August 8 last year when a silver-coloured Ford Focus car pulled up and a number of people wearing balaclavas and armed with knives and a machete got out and chased them.
Most of the group took cover in the shop. Jermaine was chased on foot with the car also following. His attackers caught up with him and stabbed him.
Police were called to Green Lane at around 11pm and members of the public rushed to help Jermaine as he lay injured before police officers and the London Ambulance Service arrived.
Jermaine was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before midnight. A post-mortem gave cause of death as a single stab wound to the leg – his femoral vein had been wounded.
The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command launched an investigation.
The suspects were identified through mobile phone analysis, CCTV enquiries which identified the vehicle in which the suspects travelled to the scene and information from the community.
During the trial, the court heard that Jermaine and his friends were possibly targeted due to ongoing tensions between rival gangs in the area. But police believe that Jermaine was not himself an active gang member.
Information received led officers to the suspects, and analysis of their mobile phone activity placed them in the area, and showed that they were in contact before and after the murder with no use at the time of the murder.
Oliver-Rowland, Haye-Elliot and Simpson were arrested between August 11 and 17 and charged whilst in custody. Benzahi was arrested on October 31 and charged the following day.
DCI Tony Lynes, who led the investigation, said: “Jermaine and his group of friends were targeted by armed suspects with their faces covered who chased Jermaine and carried out a terrifying, violent attack.
“I can only imagine the fear Jermaine felt as he was attacked. Members of the public rushed to his aid as they tried to stem the bleeding and keep Jermaine calm before the emergency services arrived and continued to administer first aid, but tragically he died from his injuries.
“These four defendants denied involvement, but the weight of evidence against them was enough to convince a jury of their guilt.
“Jermaine’s senseless murder appears to have stemmed from gang rivalry and violence, and we now have a family left utterly devastated and the lives of all involved blighted forever.
“I would like to highlight the courage and dignity Jermaine’s family have shown since his death and throughout the trial, and I hope the verdict and upcoming sentences will offer them some comfort and help ease their enduring grief as they continue to come to terms with their tragic loss.”
The four will be sentenced on or after Thursday, February 15.
A woman was found guilty of manslaughter.