Two men have been sentenced to life for murdering 17-year-old Lewisham schoolboy Kwame Ofosu-Asare, who became an innocent victim of south London gang warfare.
Nathaniel Okusanya, a 19-year-old Lambeth resident, and Nelson Toju Idiabeta, 18 and living in Camberwell, were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury. They were recommended to serve a minimum of 20 and 19 years in prison respectively.
Kwame, from Catford, was walking to a house belonging to the relative of a friend when he found himself caught in the middle of an escalating feud between two south London gangs. Okusanya and Idiabeta attacked and stabbed him, though Kwame had no involvement with either gang.
The two gang members thought that being a young man on ‘enemy territory’ in Brixton made Kwame a legitimate target. Kwame died in the ambulance on the way to a south London hospital. According to the post-mortem report, the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.
The attack on Kwame was in retaliation for an attack on a member of Okusanya and Idiabeta’s gang earlier that day. A 17-year-old boy had been stabbed in West Norwood and was left blind in one eye. Okusanya and Idiabeta went from the hospital where the boy was being treated to Idiabeta’s home in Camberwell to change clothes. They then travelled to Butterfly Walk shopping centre and bought a large kitchen knife, before taking a minicab to Brixton.
At around 17:30, they reached Moorlands Estate and attacked Kwame and his friend. While his friend escaped uninjured, Kwame was repeatedly stabbed in the back.
Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, of the homicide and serious crime command said: “The convictions of these two young men shows that the police and community will work together to identify and convict those who inflict violence on others.
“Kwame was an entirely innocent young man with a bright future ahead. He was selected at random, just because he was walking through an estate deemed to be enemy territory [by Okusanya and Idiabeta].”
Okusanya was arrested on March 30 and charged with murder the following day. Idiabeta was arrested and charged with murder on April 4.
Kwame’s father Kwaku, a sports journalist, told the court in a statement his son was full of potential.
He was in the sixth form of Forest Hill School and excelled in sport, music and acting and had great ambitions to make something of his life, he said.
Ofosu-Asare said: “Kwame was a very vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic boy.
“His brother and sister are struggling to cope with his death. All our lives have been ruined.”