A 19 year old Hackney man has been cleared of the murder of his mother’s ex-boyfriend after an Old Bailey jury accepted that he was acting in self-defence.
Chevaughn Chin of Morning Lane, Hackney, who was 18 at the time, denied murdering 39-year-old Jerome Scott in the home he lived in with his mother Tameka Belnavis, after Scott turned up at the address carrying a knife on the morning of October 18.
After entering the address around 11am, Chin described seeing Scott acting “suspiciously”, crouching at his mother’s bedroom door. He said Scott pulled out a knife and held it near his face “aggressively”.
“I grabbed his wrist underneath the knife with my left hand and with my right hand I grabbed his elbow,” said Chin.
“He was pushing the knife towards my face he kept pushing me. I was pushing as well – I had to use power and force to push the knife away. He gave way and my power overcame his power and the knife went into his chest.
“If someone has a knife in my house and looks aggressive, I don’t know what he’s going to do next, who he’s going to harm. My instant reaction was to grab his hand.”
Chin’s mother, Tameka Belnavis, said she heard Scott asking: “Where’s you mom?”. She said she heard an altercation and then both men burst into her bedroom and appeared to be “wrestling” each other before Scott suddenly dropped to the floor.
Jurors were told how Belnavis initially thought Scott had had a heart attack, as she hadn’t seen a knife or any blood.
Scott died a few hours later in hospital from a single stab wound to the chest.
Prosecutor Brendan Finucane QC said: “On Sunday October 18 last year the deceased went to the flat of his ex-partner Ms Belnavis and her son Chevaughn Chin in order to see Belnavis.
“The prosecution case is that there was an altercation between Chevaughn Chin and Jerome Scott with a knife.
“It’s not in dispute that Jerome Scott was said to have been violent towards Belnavis but she says her son didn’t know about it or know the details.”
Jurors heard how Scott’s relationship with Belnavis had ended about three years before his death.
After a week-long trial, the jury took just three hours on May 10 to find Chin not guilty.
Mr Justice Bevan QC told the jury how the verdict was one “he could readily understand”.