Judge to sentence stab murderer

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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A teenager faces life behind bars for stabbing a man to death in a “wholly unnecessary” act of street violence sparked by a row over a cigarette.

Yesterday, a jury at the Old Bailey found Kai Steele, 18, guilty of murdering 26-year-old Alex Scott in an alleyway in south east London on the evening of August 10 last year.

His co-defendant Dillon Beckford, also 18, was acquitted of the same offence last week on the direction of the trial judge Timothy Pontius.

The court was told Mr Scott was stabbed twice in the chest and collapsed on the pavement some 20 seconds after he threw the first punch.

Steele was just 17 at the time of the fatal attack which happened after an argument erupted outside an off-licence when one of the youths asked for a cigarette.

Following his conviction, prosecutor Simon Denison QC said the youth had a series of past convictions for violent crimes, including muggings, dating back to when he was aged 12 or 13 years old.

He also read an impact statement from Mr Scott’s mother Rachel Van Dyke who wrote: “His death was totally unnecessary and I know nothing is ever going to bring Alex back. The only thing I can hope for now is the person responsible gets their just desserts.

“Nothing can ever replace Alex. He was funny, outgoing, he had a good heart and would do anything for anybody.”

Steele will be sentenced by Judge Pontius at the Old Bailey later this morning.

At the opening of the trial, Mr Denison had said: “Alex Scott was 26 years old when he was killed on the evening of Sunday August 10 last year. His death was as sudden as it was violent and wholly unnecessary.

“Another life taken away in an instant by the use of a knife that was taken onto the street for no reason.

“At about 9.30pm that evening he was outside an off-licence in Eltham Road, south-east London, with a group of friends.

“They were all heavy drinkers and had spent the early evening drinking and gambling at the bookies nearby.”

The prosecutor told jurors that Steele and Mr Beckford were good friends but did not know the victim or his friends before that “fateful night”.

He said “words were needlessly exchanged” between the boys, the victim and his friends which led to a fight in a nearby alleyway.

Mr Denison went on: “Alex Scott played his part by being unnecessarily confrontational and he appears to have thrown the first punch, but there was absolutely no need or justification for what happened next.

“Kai Steele took out a knife that he had in his jacket and he lunged at Alex Scott twice. He stabbed him twice in the left side of his chest.

“Either blow could have killed him. One penetrated the aorta and the other penetrated his heart. Twenty or so seconds after he threw the first punch, Alex Scott collapsed on the pavement where he died.”

Steele, of Charlton, south-east London and Mr Beckford, of Lee High Road, had both denied the charge.

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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