Teenager 'mauled by dogs, then stabbed to death'

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The Independent Online

A teenage boy was stabbed to death by a gang who used two dogs to chase him down and savage him, a court heard yesterday.

Seyi Ogunyemi, 16, died in Larkhall Park, south London, in April last year, after being knifed six times, the Old Bailey was told. His 17-year-old friend was stabbed nine times and was lucky to survive the attack, in which both youths also suffered apparent dog bites, jurors heard. Brian Altman QC, for the prosecution, told the court: "What was so unusual, if not unique, about this case is that in the initial stages of the attack both these dogs were deployed as weapons ... both dogs were unleashed, and chased and then brought down and savaged their victims, giving their human masters an advantage."

Mr Altman said the dogs used in the attack were a Staffordshire bull terrier-bull mastiff cross and a Brindle Staffordshire terrier.

Chrisdian Johnson, 22, and his brother Shane, 20, both of south Lambeth, along with Darcy Menezes, 18, of Studley Road, Clapham, each deny murder and attempted murder.

Mr Altman told the court Seyi and the other youth were both found seriously injured in the park on the evening of 27 April last year. One of the stab wounds had struck Seyi's aorta and despite emergency surgery, he died at the scene. Two others who had been with them were also stabbed.

A police investigation revealed that two groups, each of about six youths, aged 15 to 20, wearing hoodies, some possibly masked, had been in the area of the Lansdowne Green estate earlier that evening, the court heard. "Witnesses spoke of both of these groups as being on a mission or as having a common purpose," said Mr Altman. The two gangs had been "patrolling" the estate before merging to form the "attacking group" at the entrance to the park, the court heard.

Mr Altman said the victim was in a group of six from the nearby Stockwell Gardens estate who had come into the park. "It was here that the attacking group confronted them with quite devastating consequences," he said.

"The attack was described by one shocked onlooker as vicious and as mirroring the behaviour of a pack of wild animals. The twist is that the victims were attacked not only by the attackers but also by dogs. Seyi Ogunyemi was stabbed to death in what was a quite deliberate and planned attack."

Mr Altman said all three defendants were "both present and participating in the general attack albeit in different ways". "They were not alone. There were clearly others who, despite a thorough police investigation, have not been identified or caught."

The trial continues.