THE TEENAGE drug runner who fatally stabbed a 17-year-old rival by running him through with a sword in Leamington has been cleared of his murder.
But the 17-year-old from Lewisham, London, who cannot be named because of his age, was found guilty of manslaughter.
He was also cleared of the attempted murder of one of victim Nasir Parice’s friends, Abdul Moustapha, but convicted of wounding him with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.
The defendant, who was 16 at the time of the offences, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice by later disposing of his blood-stained clothing.
The jury had spent over ten hours considering the evidence, returning their guilty verdicts by a majority of 10-2.
He will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Also to be sentenced with him are Richard Talawila of Northwick Avenue, Harrow; Abraham Kombey from Erith, London, but of no fixed address and William Hutsch of Osborn Terrace, Blackheath, London, who all pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to perverting the course of justice.
The jury had heard the incident was a clash between rival drug dealers, after Natasha Owen allowed the defendant and two others to use her flat in Tachbrook Road as a base.
The defendant, described as a ‘runner’ supplying drugs, spent the night at the flat in January last year.
The following morning Miss Owen was out when the buzzer went and homeless Christopher Galvin, who was also allowed to stay there on occasions, opened the door.
Mr Galvin was punched, and Nasir, Mr Moustapha and a third youth pushed their way in.
Mr Galvin told the jury he escaped and ran outside from where he heard someone shouting: “Put it down, put it down.”
The three intruders then ran out screaming for help, and Nasir collapsed on the ground, having received four stab wounds including one which had gone through his body and one which had damaged his pulmonary artery, from which he died.
Mr Galvin agreed with Adam Davis QC, defending, the defendant had been ‘set up’ to be robbed, but said he had not been involved in that
The defendant said: “It sounded like a stampede, and I was approached by someone with a Rambo knife. He looked at me, and I looked at him.
“This was a split second, and he tried to swing at me. I put my legs up to try to defend myself, and he caught me with the knife to my left thigh.
“The kitchen door was open, and the knife I had was leant by the radiator.”
He agreed it was ‘a big knife,’ and said he always had with him in case of such situations.
He continued: “I took it out of the scabbard. I got the knife out. He tried to swing his knife at me, and at this point I swung the knife at him.
“The knife connected with him. I felt it connect. He tried to knife me again, and I tried to swing back at him again. He tried to swing again, and missed again.
“I swung again. I connected. I move back a bit, but he’s still coming at me.”
Asked whether he knew where he had ‘connected,’ he replied: “No, but I knew it was the upper body.
“Someone else leaned over the first person, and I swung at him, to the upper body.
“As they’re trying to attack me I’m jabbing the knife. It was a life death situation, I’m thinking I’m going to be stabbed.”
But the jury rejected his claim that he had only been acting in self-defence.