Lawrence killer cleared of robbery
The killer of headmaster Philip Lawrence has been cleared of using his notoriety to intimidate and rob a young man at a cash machine.
Learco Chindamo, 31, allegedly accosted David Sexton with the words: "Do you remember about the headteacher in Maida Vale?" as he ordered him to hand over his money.
The 31-year-old had only been released from prison for the 1995 murder some four months before the confrontation in north London, jurors were told. But following the collapse of three previous trials, he was acquitted of robbery at London's Blackfriars Crown Court.
During seven days of evidence, jurors were told Chindamo tried to "intimidate and terrify" Mr Sexton, allegedly demanding cash as he withdrew money outside a Sainsbury's store on November 13 last year.
The 20-year-old had been enjoying a work night out which culminated in Camden, north London, at about 3.30am with his friends James Pearce and Seamus Delahunty.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan told the court: "Mr Chindamo came towards Mr Sexton saying words to the effect of, 'Do you know who I am?' and 'Do you remember about the headteacher in Maida Vale?' The Crown say that this was quite plainly and deliberately a reference to his conviction designed to intimidate and threaten Mr Sexton."
Jurors heard how co-defendant, Gregory Jananto, 32, - armed with a large empty glass bottle which he waved around by the neck - and Saeed Akhtar, 32, surrounded Mr Sexton in an "intimidating and threatening manner" during the dispute.
Chindamo later told police he had been provoked by a man at the cashpoint who branded him a "killer".
Giving evidence from behind a screen, Mr Sexton told the court: "He demanded compensation for disrespecting him." Defence lawyers claimed Mr Sexton in fact handed over £10 as a peace offering following the dispute so Chindamo could buy a drink.
Chindamo, of Catford, south London, Jananto, of Shepherd's Bush, west London, and Akhtar, of Camden, consistently denied robbery. All were cleared of the charges.