EXCLUSIVE: Youths to face retrial over Victoria Station Attack
Chris Goncalves and Tayo Ajayi, both 18, and a 17 year-old are said to have been part of a group who targeted Sofyen Belamouadden (right) in a fight which was pre-arranged on Facebook. They will all be put up for retrial in the coming weeks.
Gonclaves, of Bermondsey, was cleared of murder, manslaughter and GBH but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of violent disorder. The 17-year-old was cleared of GBH but the jury could not reach a verdict on violent disorder.
In February of this year, the Old Bailey heard that the boys were carrying knives which ‘glinted in the sunlight’ as they chased their victim through the station. Goncalves claimed that he watched another youth punching Belamouadden in the body but denied seeing any knives. He told jurors at the Old Bailey he got “too close for comfort” but was not involved in what he called a “scuffle”.
Reports say that Belamouadden lay helpless at the foot of the stairs in the station ticket hall after being chased through Terminus Place. He was brutally beaten and stabbed to death by up to 20 youths in the ticket hall of Victoria Station during rush hour on March 25 last year. He was stabbed nine times in the body and suffered wounds to his heart, a lung and major blood vessels. It is claimed the murder was sparked by a trivial row between two groups of youths at Victoria the previous day.
Commuters told the court of their shock at seeing a sword-wielding gang chasing a schoolboy through rush-hour crowds at London’s Victoria Station. The mob, some as young as 15, were armed with a samurai sword, kitchen knives, flick knives, metal bars and other weapons.
The trial took a shocking turn earlier this month as an Old Bailey courtroom had to be cleared when the public gallery erupted and fighting broke out in the dock after another teenager was convicted of murdering the schoolboy. Samson Odegbune, 18, told jurors that he joined in the attack because ‘everyone else was doing it.’
Odegbune – who is said to have wielded the sword – was convicted of murder and conspiracy to cause GBH. After the verdict was reached, one man in the upstairs gallery at the court had his foot on the handrail as if preparing to leap into the well of the court before he was pulled back by police. Judge Christopher Moss QC cleared the courtroom.
Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said: “All 20 went there at the height of the rush hour in broad daylight. Between them they were heavily armed with a range of knives and other weapons, including a whole set of kitchen knives purchased that very afternoon.”
He added: “Such was their arrogance that they carried out that attack at the height of the rush hour in front of scores if not hundreds of people.”
Those found guilty were remanded in custody and will be sentenced together at the end of the final hearing next month.