Youth facing sentence for stabbing friend to death at birthday party
A 17-year-old boy is facing years behind bars for stabbing a friend to death at a birthday party.
The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murder of Charlie Kutyauripo, 16, following a retrial.
In a rare move, the jury sent a note to "recommend the defendant to leniency" before delivering a unanimous verdict last week.
Judge Rebecca Poulet QC will sentence the youth later at the Old Bailey.
The court heard that Charlie collapsed and died shortly after he was attacked outside a party venue in east London on January 9 last year.
The incident was captured on CCTV and witnessed by several young revellers who had been at the sports centre in Woodford.
Prosecutor Louis Mably told jurors that by the time police arrived, there were around 100 youngsters aged between 14 and 17 outside the centre.
Charlie was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
A post-mortem examination showed he had been stabbed twice with a 6in blade, with the fatal wound struck with severe force into his heart, the court heard.
A kitchen knife was found by police discarded near the scene with Charlie's blood on it and the defendant's DNA on the handle, Mr Mably said.
The defendant had fled London but was found around three weeks later lying low in the Kent seaside town of Margate.
The court heard how the two boys had been friends but fell out around the end of 2015 in a petty row over a tracksuit the defendant had taken and not given back to Charlie.
On the night of the stabbing, the boy said he armed himself because he was expecting gang members to be at the party, even though it was an invite-only, no-alcohol event with parents manning the doors.
The boy claimed he acted in self defence, although no knife was found on Charlie's body.