A teenager has been convicted of murder after stabbing a 19-year-old boy in revenge amid ‘escalating warfare’ between rival gangs.
Jaydon McFarlane, 19, suffered a fatal, 17cm-deep wound to his back from a kitchen knife when he was ambushed in the street on March 14 last year by Osita Alagbaoso.
Then just 17, Alagbaoso used such force that the blade broke as it penetrated through Mr McFarlane’s chest, cutting his spine and into his left lung.
Mr McFarlane, known as ‘Lampz’, managed to run off with his attacker in pursuit, but collapsed and died at the scene in Ashford, Kent, just 10 minutes later, a court heard.
Sickeningly, a photo of his dead body was later uploaded by others to social media.
Alagbaoso, said to be a member of a gang known as NPB – No Plan B – shared the image with his associates as he ‘glorified and took pride’ in the brutal killing, a jury was told.
Now 18, he denied murder but was found guilty on Wednesday after the jury deliberated over four days following a nine-week trial.
A second fellow NPB gang member, Joseph Matimba, also 18, was cleared of Mr McFarlane’s murder.
It was alleged that although he was not present at the killing, he was ‘part and parcel’ of it.
The court heard Mr McFarlane was a member of a gang called Kblock and in the weeks leading up to his death there had been growing tension between the rivals.
This arose from another stabbing, a drug deal involving fake £20 notes, and a machete-armed mob attack in the town’s County Square shopping mall.
There had also been ‘an avalanche’ of threats, boasts and goading from both sides.
Police later found a video on Alagbaoso’s phone of him displaying a knife in his waistband, and evidence of a Snapchat exchange in which he threatened to ‘juice’ and ‘slice’ a member of Kblock.
He also told one teen with a birthmark on his face: “See that s**t stain you have got? You will have another one the other side when my Rambo on move.’
Opening the trial at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, prosecutor Richard Barraclough QC told the jury Mr McFarlane’s killing was the result of ‘gang warfare’.
The three teenagers had been friends until Mr McFarlane used counterfeit money to buy cannabis from Matimba.
This led to threatening messages between them, including one telling Mr McFarlane ‘You are going to regret it. Karma.”
The catalyst for the murder was the stabbing of another young man, Kaseem Ibrahim, by Alagbaoso seven weeks earlier on January 25.
Mr Barraclough told the court: “This case concerns gang warfare on the streets of Ashford in Kent.
“It started with the stabbing of Kaseem Ibrahim. It ended with the stabbing to death of Jaydon McFarlane. This was a planned, orchestrated and revenge stabbing.”
It was clear, said Mr Barraclough, that by March 14 there was ‘escalating gang feud’ between Kblock and NPB.
It was at 12.25pm that day that Alagbaoso spotted Mr McFarlane in Arlington, a short distance from his home, as they carried out separate drug deals.
“Alagbaoso ran towards him. Jaydon McFarlane fell to the ground and Alagbaoso stabbed him,” the prosecutor told the jury.
“He stabbed him twice and the knife broke, leaving the blade caught up in Jaydon McFarlane’s clothing. The handle fell to the ground.
“Jaydon McFarlane managed to get up and run away and Alagbaoso pursued him. He was carrying another Rambo knife.”
Mr McFarlane ran into a residents’ car park where Alagbaoso then brandished the Rambo blade. He was ‘about to finish him off’, said Mr Barraclough, when he saw he was being watched by a witness so simply walked off.
Although Mr McFarlane had been stabbed twice in the back, only one wound was fatal, the court heard.
As he lay dying, Matimba was seen running from his home, also in Arlington, to meet up with Alagbaoso.
He was wearing two pairs of tracksuit bottoms, one of which he then gave to his friend to change into in a nearby KFC toilets.
Fast-food delivery driver, Hassan Tejan, 25, of Ashford, was also on trial, having taken Alagbaoso and Matimba to Canterbury in the immediate aftermath.
He was convicted of perverting the course of justice by lying to police during their investigation.
Alagbaoso, of Ashford, was arrested and refused to answer questions in three police interviews.
He claimed at trial he had acted in self-defence when he stabbed Mr McFarlane, having armed himself with two knives for his own protection following threats.
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Matimba told police he heard about the stabbing via Snapchat and did not know Alagbaoso was responsible. He chose not to give evidence at trial.
The court heard Mr Ibrahim was stabbed by Alagbaoso in the upper right thigh with a 14in knife in Memorial Gardens, Ashford.
As well as it leading to threats between the rival parties, the court heard Mr McFarlane was involved in a machete attack on Matimba and NPB associates in the local shopping mall.
Tensions continued and on the night before he was killed, Mr McFarlane had sent a text goading Alagbaoso.
Ahead of the trial, Alagbaoso had admitted a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in respect of the stabbing of Mr Ibrahim.
Matimba denied the same offence and was cleared by the jury.
However he had admitted perverting the course of justice in relation to changing clothes with Alagbaoso.
The three defendants are now expected to be sentenced on August 20.
Alagbaoso and Matimba were remanded in custody while Tejan was released on bail.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss, senior investigating officer for the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This case shows how gang associations and messages on social media can so tragically turn to acts of serious violence and murder.
“The death of the victim in this case is a tragedy which will have an everlasting impact on his family and friends.
“The meticulous investigation carried out by officers following the incident led to the quick arrest of those involved and the detailed evidence gathered by investigators has led to the guilty pleas and guilty verdicts.
“I would like to thank the victim’s family for their support and witnesses who came forward to give evidence at this trial.”