by Akan Ido
Two Nigerians, Nelson Idiabeta and Nathaniel Okusanya have been sentenced to prison by a UK court for the murder of Kwame Ofosu-Asare.
The two young men were said to be members of a gang known as the TN1 (Trust No One) who were out to avenge the stabbing of one of their gang member.
Kwame was, however, mistaken as a member of a rival gang known as the GAS gang – Guns and Shanks. The 17-year-old boy was chased, caught and stabbed 14 times in the back in what has been described as a “cowardly and merciless murder”.
His killers had toured housing estates in Brixton to find rival gang members and came upon the 17-year-old son of a sports broadcast journalist and his friend, who had nothing to do with any gangs.
The victim and a friend were returning from a session at a recording studio when they were confronted by Okusanya and Idiabeta in the Moorlands Estate in Brixton.
His friend managed to jump over a fence but Kwame was trapped and brutally murdered.
According to the UK Daily Mail report:
He shouted out he was from Catford and pleaded ‘I’m not from round here, I’m not from round here’ but he was murdered by the pair who had persuaded a shopper to buy them at least one substantial kitchen knife just hours before the attack.
After an Old Bailey jury found the pair guilty Nelson Idiabeta, now 18 was jailed for a minimum of 19 years while Nathaniel Okusanya, 19, was jailed for 20 years.
Sentencing Judge Richard Marks QC said: ‘I am entirely satisfied having heard the evidence the background to this terrible offence is to be found in revenge between two gangs.
‘Around 1.15pm Garfield Stewart a member of TN1 gang was stabbed 28 times while sat in a bus while it was stationary at West Norwood.
‘It’s clear from the evidence a very short time from that stabbing you found out about it and decided this stabbing needed to be avenged.
‘Your purpose was to carry out an attack on a GAS gang member and anyone you believed to be so.
‘You encountered two boys Kwame and his friend by reason of they only being on the Moreland Estate.
‘You believed them to be GAS gang members, they were not and have no connection whatsoever with this gang.’
He said Kwame’s friend managed to escape but Kwame ‘was not so fortunate’.
‘He was heard to shout “I’m from Catford” saying to you he was in effect not from around there and had no reason to be chased. It was to no avail.
‘He was violently attacked suffering 14 stab wounds, three of which penetrated his lungs and one his liver.
‘It would have been abundantly obvious to you he was gravely injured but you ran off thinking only of your escape.’
He added: ‘It was Kwame’s misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.’
But Judge Marks added Idiabeta, who was on bail at the time for robbery, and Okusanya ‘have shown no an iota of remorse.’
Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, told jurors: ‘Kwame’s death was but a part of a poisonous and senseless feud between two rival gangs of youths in south London.’
Judge Marks said Kwame’s father, a sports presenter in Ghana, described his son as ‘vibrant, energetic, enthusiastic and promising boy.’
The father, in a statement read to the court, added: ‘Hours before his horrendous death he had gone to the studio to record a track which he dedicated to his mother.
‘The sudden and tragic death of Kwame has deprived us of a brother, son and friend.
‘He is ever present in our minds. The damage Kwame’s death has caused the family is irreparable. Our lives have been ruined and will never be the same again.’
He was in the sixth-form of Forest Hill School, had moved from Ghana to London in 2002, and excelled in sport, music and acting and had great ambitions to make something of his life.Idiabeta, who was living at a bail hostel in Camberwell, had been in youth court on the morning Kwame was stabbed for breaching his bail conditions for robbery but the prosecution could not find his file so the case was adjourned for a week.
That day their friend Stewart was stabbed on the top deck of a bus in West Norwood.
Okusanya, seen here fleeing the scene, told police ‘Stabbings happened everywhere… it’s how life is now. Everyone gets stabbed, everyone gets shot. Everyone dies, everyone goes to jail, that’s how life is’
CCTV cameras recorded them travelling to see him at King’s College Hospital before heading to a shopping centre in Camberwell to buy a knife from a Bargain Express.
When the shopkeeper refused to sell them the weapon without seeing a passport or driving licence they asked a stranger to help, claiming one of their mothers needed it for cooking.
The pair then got a taxi driver to take them to Brixton and drop them off at the edge of the Moorlands Estate at 5.30pm.
At that time Kwame, who lived in Catford, happened to be walking through the estate with one of his friends after leaving the recording studio.
Garfield Stewart whose knifing prompted the murder had been wearing a T-shirt which bore the slogan ‘RIP Little Zac’ – a reference to Zac Olumegbon murdered eight months earlier in July 2011.
Okusanya had worn a similar t-shirt in a You Tube video posted online which was entitled “Death Keeps Calling” and paid homage to Olumegbon.
Jurors heard Okusanya was close friends with Zac Olumegbon and starred in ‘Death Keeps Calling.’
When police searched his home they found photos of three other murder victims – Abukar Mahamood, who was shot dead aged 16 in 2007; Sadiq Adebeyi, 25, who was shot dead in May 2011; and Nana Darko-Frimpong, 16, who was shot dead in June 2011.Okusanya told police they were all his friends and added: ‘Stabbings happen everywhere… it’s how life is now. Everyone gets stabbed, everyone gets shot. Everyone dies, everyone goes to jail, that’s how life is. In a typical black area, people get stabbed, people get shot, people die.’
Kwame Ofosu-Asare’s uncle said today that the killers should serve the rest of their lives behind bars to set an example to other gang members intent on violence.
Alexander Asare-Ansah said no-body was safe until the message got across.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey he called for a tougher crack down on gangs and their members as his nephew and his friend were innocently in the area to use a recording studio and were attacked for no other reason.
He said: ‘Something has to be done. As my brother said you don’t need a visa to go to that area. They just went there for a purpose. It may happen to other people. Nobody is safe.
‘All we say is life should be life for them. If not they will come out and do it again. Life should be life so it sets and example for all the other people.’
Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane said: ‘Kwame was an entirely innocent young man with a bright future in front of him.
‘He was selected at random, just because he was walking through an estate deemed to be enemy territory by these two violent gang members.’