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Teenager given life for stabbing schoolboy

Friday 16 January 2009 13:42 GMT

A 16-year-old who was caught smiling and laughing after stabbing a schoolboy to death was given a life sentence for murder today.

David Idowu, 14, died on July 7 last year, three weeks after being stabbed in the chest at a football pitch in Southwark, south London.

The schoolboy, the youngest stabbing victim in the capital in 2008, had been due to give a speech condemning knife culture at a public-speaking competition just days after the attack.

Elijah Dayoni, 16, was found guilty of murder following a trial last month and was sentenced at the Old Bailey today to be detained for life, serving a minimum of 12 years.

Police said Dayoni approached the schoolboy who had been taking part in an organised football match on an artificial pitch. Without warning, he stabbed him in the heart.

He then chased Idowu as he tried to escape and was caught on CCTV laughing and smiling.

Idowu collapsed on a nearby street and passers-by helped to restart his heart after it stopped twice. He was flown to hospital by air ambulance but never came out of a coma.

When Dayoni was arrested two days later, he was wearing a T-shirt which forensic tests showed had his victim's blood on it.

"This was a very tough investigation," said Detective Inspector Mick Norman.

"Despite the fact there were a large number of eye witnesses to the stabbing, many of whom knew the defendant, very few were prepared to name the person responsible or assist the investigation."

The attack came after the 16-year-old was summoned to the park by his younger brothers after a conflict between boys from their school and Walworth Academy, which David attended, the Press Association reported.

The judge, Justice David Calvert-Smith, said Idowu was from a loving family, was a model student, and a regular churchgoer.

In an impact statement from his parents read to court, his mother Grace said Idowu was doing well at school and wanted to be an aeronautics engineer.

"We will never recover from the loss and from witnessing the pain he endured," she said. "The knife which pierced David's heart will keep the wounds open in our hearts forever."

The judge said Dayoni spent his early years with a grandmother in Angola until 2000 when he joined his parents in the UK.

He had been taken into care at various times, the last a month before the murder, because of a difficult family life and had been given a supervision order for burglary the day before the killing.

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