Man jailed indefinitely for 'lolly stick' row stabbings

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The Independent Online

A 23-year-old man who stabbed a City banker and a diplomat in a "shocking and violent" attack after one of their friends accidentally threw a lollipop stick at a BMW was jailed indefinitely for public protection today.

Darius Antoine, 23, was told he must serve a minimum of six years before being considered for release.

Recorder William Boyce QC said Antoine stabbed Ben McKinney and Brian Dorsett "for no reason whatsoever" in a "wholly unjustified" attack outside a West End nightclub in the early hours of December 6 last year.

The victims, who had earlier attended a black tie gala ball, both suffered serious chest wounds and were flown to the Royal London Hospital by helicopter, Southwark Crown Court in central London heard.

But Mr McKinney was able to take down the BMW's registration number despite having been stabbed and Antoine was later arrested.

The judge said Antoine was "carrying the knife to use as and when the occasion arose".

"For no reason whatsoever he stabbed two men, one of whom was utterly helpless, and yet he still came back for more," the judge said.

Antoine stabbed Mr McKinney and Mr Dorsett in an altercation outside the Moonlighting nightclub in Greek Street, Soho, the court was told.

The pair were enjoying a night out with friends, having earlier attended a black tie gala ball on board HMS President at Temple and an exclusive function for young diplomats in Buckingham Palace Road.

But after leaving the club at about 5am, investment banker Adlai Kerr threw a lollipop stick into the road, accidentally hitting the rear windscreen of a white BMW but causing no damage and leaving no marks whatsoever.

Antoine got out of the car and demanded an apology, but the group of friends thought he was making a mountain out of a mole hill, the judge said.

He went back to the car to get the knife and returned to stab banker Mr McKinney.

Antoine then went back to the car again but, seeing Mr Dorsett was "totally helpless" and held in a full Nelson by another man, Antoine returned to stab the diplomat from the Bahamian embassy in the chest, causing him life-threatening injuries.

The judge said it was "a lottery" whether the victims suffered fatal injuries or not and added that Antoine was lucky that both men made full recoveries.

"But each of them will be mentally affected for a long time to come by your shocking and unlawful behaviour," the judge said.

Witnesses then saw Antoine, "full of confidence and bravado", head to the boot of another car and arm himself with a pair of nunchucks, a martial arts weapon, the court heard.

He was caught on video, swinging the nunchucks around in a "completely arrogant and self-confident" manner, "prepared to take on anybody", the judge said.

Thankfully, he said, the crowd showed that discretion was the better part of valour and backed away.

Antoine, who had shaved off his distinctive "corn-rows" hairstyle by the time of his arrest 10 days later, claimed he had been wrongly identified.

But Mr McKinney still picked him out as his attacker in a video identification parade and he was found guilty of two counts of wounding with intent following a trial last month.

The judge said he found Antoine, of Haggerston Road, Hackney, east London, posed a significant risk of further serious harm to the public.