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Youth guilty of stabbing gangster over county lines drug dispute

The youth who delivered the fatal wound denied murder, claiming he acted in self defence.

Flowers placed at Lanfrey Place where Ayub Hassan was stabbed (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Flowers placed at Lanfrey Place where Ayub Hassan was stabbed (Isabel Infantes/PA)

By Emily Pennink, PA Old Bailey Correspondent

A boy who stabbed a 17-year-old gangster in a row over county lines drug dealing has been found guilty of murder.

Ayub Hassan, known as A1, was fatally knifed in the heart behind a Waitrose supermarket in Kensington, west London, on March 7.

The 15-year-old attacker, who cannot be named, made off on a “Boris Bike” as a trainee nurse rushed in to help the stricken victim, the Old Bailey heard.

The killing took place in front of a group of youths and was caught on graphic CCTV footage shown in court.

But prosecutor Anthony Orchard QC told jurors that none of the youngsters present had helped police in their investigation, or offered any explanation for what happened.

One of them was even caught on CCTV throwing the alleged murder weapon – a folding lock knife – into a nearby drain, where is was later recovered by police.

The youth who delivered the fatal wound denied murder, claiming he acted in self defence.

He told jurors he feared he was about to be stabbed by 12 World gang member Ayub for refusing to deal Class A drugs across county lines for him.

An Old Bailey jury found the defendant, now 16, guilty of murder by a majority of 11 to one.

The victim’s family wiped away tears as the verdict was delivered after five hours of deliberations.

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Ayub Hassan, 17, was fatally stabbed by a 15-year-old boy (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The court heard how the defendant had been in trouble with police since he was aged just 14 – with convictions for common assault, dealing Class A drugs and possession of cannabis.

He was picked up in November 2017 when he threw a shopping basket at a TK Maxx shop assistant.

In January 2018 he was caught by an undercover police officer selling crack cocaine and heroin, which led to his conviction that October.

Giving evidence, the defendant said it led him to make a “positive decision” to stop selling Class A drugs, although he admitted breaching a community behaviour order.

He began selling cannabis but fell out with Ayub who claimed the takings were short and he was owed £50, jurors heard.

The defendant said: “He was counting money in a Cuckoo House (used for drug dealing). He pulled out a knife and stabbed me in my arm. It was a flick knife. I went against the wall. I grabbed my arm.”

As he described the incident in court, the boy took off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeve to show jurors a large scar on his arm.

He said he did not go to hospital and told his parents he was injured by someone who had tried to grab his jacket.

The boy said he stopped dealing in January, but Ayub told him he still owed money and had to sell class A drugs on county lines “to make it back”.

The court heard Ayub had also punched another boy, aged around 13, who had refused to sell drugs for him.

The defendant told jurors Ayub threatened to stab him on March 6 and again on the day of the killing after he continued to resist him.

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Police activity in Lanfrey Place, West Kensington, London, where 17 year old Ayub Hassan was stabbed (Isabel Infantes/PA)

On March 7, the youth said he had been warned Ayub was “moving dodgy” and planning something so he picked up a knife from behind a nearby bush before going to the alleyway behind Waitrose.

Defence barrister Michael Bromley-Martin QC said: “He threatened to stab you if you did not deal in class A drugs in county lines. Had you agreed to do that?”

The defendant said: “No. I believed he was planning to stab me or something. I thought he would have a knife.”

The youth was shown on CCTV getting a knife out of his pocket, opening the blade and showing it to Ayub, who had a blade in his pocket.

The defendant told jurors: “I wanted to let him know that I had it. He said it was small and could not do nothing. He said, ‘I have got a big one’.

“I said ‘stop trying to violate me because I’m younger than you’.”

The court heard how Ayub was linked to “cuckooing” two addresses in Fulham – taking over the homes of vulnerable addicts for drug dealing.

He also had convictions for having an eight-inch knife in public and violent disorder, the court was told.

In September 2017, Ayub was among a group of balaclava-clad youths who chased a male armed with knives, poles and a machete.

The victim in that incident was later found lying on a footpath with a stab wound to his back, the court heard.

Ayub’s grieving family and the defendant’s father sat apart in the well of the court throughout the trial.

Judge Anuja Dhir QC remanded the defendant into custody for sentencing on September 27.

Despite calls for silence in the public gallery, the defendant’s mother called out: “The system is flawed. The system is of man not of god.”

Judge Dhir added: “In this case, I have been struck by the dignity shown by the family of Ayub Hassan throughout this trial.

“I know it cannot have been easy for those in court who saw some of the CCTV footage which showed the last moments of his life, the stabbing and what happened after.”

Detective Inspector Steve Keogh, of Scotland Yard, said: “The defendant in this case came armed to cause significant violence and attacked Ayub when he was completely defenceless.

“We may never know the real reason behind this fatal stabbing, which left Ayub dying in the street, as the defendant has failed to own up to his actions.

“Ayub’s death has left his family completely devastated and we hope this conviction brings them some kind of closure.

“I want to pay particular tribute to those who came to Ayub’s assistance, particularly the nurse who did all she could to help him before further emergency services arrived.

“Sadly, despite the considerable efforts of many people, he could not be saved.”

PA

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