Three teenagers have been found guilty of the manslaughter of a 17-year-old Lewisham rapper, Myron Yarde, who was stabbed in New Cross in April.
Fauz Richards, 19, from Lewisham, and two boys aged 15 and 16, were convicted at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.
Known as ‘ Mdot’ amongst his friends and developing fan base, Yarde was discovered bleeding heavily by police, and was rushed to hospital, but died two hours later.
The judge at the Old Bailey, Judge Nicholas Cooke said that “the evil” of knife crime had to stop. “Too many young men lose their lives in this way,” he continued.
The court heard that events leading up to Yarde’ s murder involved a row over a bike.
Sixteen-year-old Leoandro Osemeke, another aspiring rapper known as Showkey had borrowed Yarde’ s bicycle, and ridden it to Domino’s to buy pizza where it was snatched.
Osemeke was due to be a witness at the trial but was also murdered in an unrelated attack at a house party in Peckham.
Yarde attempted to retrieve his bike, allegedly armed with a machete, although this was not found at the scene.
Yarde was pushed up against a wall on Camplin Street where he was fatally stabbed five times in the legs. One of the stab wounds severed Yarde’s femoral artery, causing him to lose massive amounts of blood, the court heard.
Police later discovered a kitchen knife in Richards’ back garden with Yarde’s blood on it.
When he was arrested, the 15-year-old defendant told officers: “Some people deserve to die, I just mean not everyone is innocent, including that boy that died.”
Hundreds of mourners turned out earlier in the year in support of Yarde’s family.
Darna Sepaul, who had worked with Yarde at the Woodpecker Youth Centre told the Guardian earlier this year, that she was deeply saddened by his death, and expressed a wider concern with ongoing violence in London.
Young people, she said, had been mixed up in a “brute madness” on London’s streets.
“I don’t know if there’s a generation that’s not had a war that’s been exposed to so much death. A lot of these young people have lost very, very dear friends,” Sepal added.
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves, of Scotland Yard, said: “A young man’s life has been lost, leaving his family absolutely distraught. Those responsible, also teenagers, now face significant prison sentences.”
“Without the presence of knives at this incident, this attack and its terrible consequences for family, friends, brave witnesses who gave evidence, and the whole community, could have been avoided.”
Knife crime in the city has risen to a four-year high, with all ELL boroughs experiencing increases. Between August 2015, and August 2016, Tower Hamlets has seen the second highest level of knife crimes in all London boroughs with 106 incidents, Croydon had 84, Hackney 76, and Lewisham 71 incidents.
A report from the London Assemblies Police and Crime Committee suggests the reason behind young people carrying knifes “appears to be a belief that they need to be prepared to defend themselves,” which is exacerbated by reports of stabbings in their communities.
The report went on to stress that: “If a serious incident occurs, there needs to be a concerted effort by the police and other agencies to reassure young people that they are safe.”
Richards and the two boys will be sentenced on 13 January.