The mother of a young man with learning difficulties who was murdered for his mobile phone has called for an end to “unacceptable” knife crime as her son’s teenage killers faced life behind bars.
Dean Mayley, 24, who had a mental age of nine, was stabbed in the heart by Jamal Jones after the gang of muggers surrounded him as he walked home in Greenford, west London, on 7 February.
The whole incident was caught on CCTV film which provoked gasps from jurors and tears from Mr Mayley’s family when it was shown in the trial of the four youths.
An Old Bailey jury took four hours to find Jones, 17, guilty of murder, and his three accomplices – Michael Mensah, 18, Ryan Beresford, 19 and Miguel Leiba, 17 – guilty of manslaughter as well as attempted robbery.
Jones had earlier admitted trying to rob Mr Mayley while Mensah was also found guilty of a similar robbery of a 15-year-old boy the month before.
As the verdicts were read out, the youths began wailing and had to be removed from the dock while the judge adjourned sentencing to 2 October. Mr Mayley’s mother Donna wiped away tears and said “let them cry”.
Outside court, supported by her daughter Emma, Mrs Mayley said she was happy with the verdicts but they would not bring her son back.
Calling for an end to knife crime, she said: “They need to be aware when they have a knife or a sword or a Taser they are not going to have fun with these things; they are dangerous weapons.
“It keeps happening day after day, week after week. People will be killed. It is always innocent people who have done nothing wrong. It’s completely unacceptable. Things have to change.”
Earlier, the trial judge, Martyn Zeidman QC, lifted a court order allowing the two 17-year-old defendants to be named for the first time, saying: “The more people who realise the horror of knife crime the better.”
He added: “Yet another example of a kind and innocent person losing their life because of somebody else using a knife.
“For somebody to lose their life in these circumstances is a disaster. There are no sufficient words to demonstrate the sadness. I want to pay tribute to the family who have shown such courage at difficult times throughout this trial. I just wish there was some way – obviously there isn’t – in which I could turn the clock back.”
He said the defendants would be in custody for a “very, very, long time” as he ordered reports to assess their risk to the public in the future.
During the trial, the court heard Mr Mayley had caught the eye of the muggers because he was alone and wearing a North Face jacket.
But the 24-year-old had learning difficulties due to a brain disorder called microcephaly and probably did not fully understand what the teenagers wanted when one of them demanded his phone, the jury was told.
The prosecution said while Jones, from Acton, west London, wielded the knife, all four played their part in the killing.
Leiba, from Hanwell, and Beresford, of Acton, both in west London, blocked the victim’s path while Mensah, 18, of Greenford, west London, sat in his car parked nearby, waiting to drive them away.
Following the guilty verdicts, the investigating officer, Detective Inspector Mark Lawson, said: “It sends a clear message that if you are armed with a knife and prepared to use a knife you have got to accept the consequences of your actions.
He added: “We know that these four youths had carried out a number of robberies in the Greenford area before this tragic murder but unfortunately the victims were too scared to come forward.”