A man who stabbed and killed a 16-year-old boy at a birthday party was sentenced for life today at the Old Bailey.
Wesley Sterling was among 200 guests at the South Norwood party in April last year, when he was killed by Carleto Salmons, 27, whose girlfriend had hosted the party for her son’s birthday.
The court heard how Sterling had arrived at the party with a female friend just before a gang of youths tried to gatecrash the event. The police arrived and the troublemakers were asked to leave without much fuss.
Just after midnight Wesley was amongst a number of other party-goers leaving the venue when they were rushed by a large group of youths, causing widespread panic.
Salmons was standing at the door when he stabbed Wesley with a “single deliberate blow” through the heart as he tried to get back inside the building, witnesses told his trial at the Old Bailey.
Salmons used a knife taken from the venue’s kitchen, which had been used to cut the birthday cake. Witnesses saw him wipe the knife clean and leave it in the kitchen. It was later found near the victim’s body in what police believe was an attempt to plant the knife on him.
The victim’s mother, Beverley Richards, said in a statement read to the court: “Wesley was an ambitious, well-mannered and talented young man who had the whole of his life ahead of him.”
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola said: “Salmons’ response to the events of that night were totally disproportionate and his actions to cover-up what he had done following Wesley’s death were callous and cowardly.”
The jury was told that Salmons had refused to answer police questions, but in a statement denied involvement in the murder.
Salmons showed no emotion as the jury found him guilty of murder.