Man cleared of Boxing Day Oxford Street teen's murder

 

A man wept today after being cleared of murdering a teenager who was stabbed in the middle of Britain's busiest shopping street during the Boxing Day sales.

Seydou Diarrassouba, 18, was knifed twice in the chest with such speed that no one realised what had happened.

He was stabbed through the heart with such force that the knife broke into two at the hilt, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Diarrassouba staggered out of the Foot Locker store and collapsed on the pavement in front of horrified shoppers in Oxford Street, central London, and died.

Jermaine Joseph, 23, of Tottenham, north London, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter by a jury.

He said he had inflicted the fatal injuries in self-defence after he was chased into the shop.

Student Mr Diarrassouba, known as Nutz, and Joseph had been involved in a gang feud.

He told the trial Mr Diarrassouba came at him with a knife.

Joseph said: "He chased me. I stabbed him to stop him stabbing me. It's like a dog chasing the cat - the cat still shows his claws."

Mark Heywood, QC, prosecuting, said: "This case concerns gang violence in the street."

It involved "bad blood" between Mr Diarrassouba and his associates and Joseph and his friends.

He added: "The grievance was evidently a deep and powerful one.

"It led almost instantly to ugly, brutish violence in broad daylight in a packed street on the busiest shopping day of the year.

"You may think that was one of the days and places people could go in peace."

Joseph told police he was chased into the shop by the victim.

Thulani Khumalo, 20, from Finsbury Park, was discharged on the directions of the judge.

PA