A 16-year-old boy who stabbed a reveller to death at an illegal ‘End of Lockdown’ warehouse party has been jailed for four and a half years.
Jason Nyarko, 26, was attacked at the unlicensed music event near Millwall Football Club in Bermondsey, southeast London, on June 26 last year.
The killer, who cannot be named due to his age, said he went to the party with the intention of selling drugs and carried a knife for protection.
He claimed the confrontation started when Mr Nyarko demanded his drugs, money and the chain he was wearing, which belonged to his grandfather.
The Old Bailey heard the killer swung a rainbow knife at Mr Nyarko as ravers, who witnessed the incident, screamed out in horror.
Mr Nyarko attempted to walk away while bleeding heavily, according to a witness, but collapsed and died at the scene despite receiving CPR from a 17-year-old boy and later from paramedics.
His sister described him as the family’s ‘protector’ who had ‘hopes and goals that he wanted to achieve’.
The killer, who has since turned 17, claimed he was ‘acting at all times in self-defence’.
He admitted manslaughter and possession of a bladed article and was jailed for four and a half years.
Jason Nyarko, 26, died after he was stabbed at an unlicensed music event near Millwall Football Club in Bermondsey, southeast London, on June 26 last year
The killer, who cannot be named due to his age, said he went to the party with the intention of selling drugs and carried a knife for protection. Pictured: police at the scene
The Old Bailey heard tickets for the unlicensed event on June 26, 2021, were available to purchase online, with buyers sent a QR code to be scanned on the door, but attendees were being allowed entry by paying on the door.
Prosecutor Charlotte Newell said revellers witnessed the confrontation between Mr Nyarko and the killer, screaming: ‘He’s being stabbed.’
Referring to a statement made by a partygoer who saw the attack, she said: ‘He could see that Jay [Nyarko] was bleeding and trying to get a knife out of the defendant’s hand.
‘He had his hand around it with the tightest grip.’
The witness described the weapon as ‘a multi-coloured rainbow folding knife’.
‘Mr Nyarko tried to walk away, which he did for some distance, but he then collapsed,’ Ms Newell added.
The defendant had been arrested twice in 18 months for possession of knives, the court heard.
Jessica Nyarko, Mr Nyarko’s sister, said in a statement read out in court: ‘Words cannot even begin to describe the impact that your actions have had on myself and my family.
‘You have single handedly ripped apart an entire family. You decided to play God and take Jason away from us.
‘He played a huge role in our family. He was our protector. He had hopes and goals that he wanted to achieve.
‘He will never get the chance to come back to us.’
She added: ‘I hope it affects you physically, emotionally and mentally.
‘What parents want to know they have spent all these years raising a child who is capable of this?’
Jeremy Dein, QC, defending, described Mr Nyarko’s death as ‘truly tragic’ and said: ‘Nothing I propose to say is designed to undermine that.’
He said the victim was trying to pin the defendant down and that the defendant’s actions were ‘in response’ to that.
He added: ‘In short, when the defendant set out that night it was not his intention to go partying.
‘He accepts that he had drugs in his possession and that he was going to sell them.
‘He was confronted by Jason Nyarko and the others. He was selling drugs on their patch and he was surrounded by this group, questioning him where he was from and making it clear they didn’t want him there.
‘He tried to walk away but was further surrounded.’
The killer claimed the confrontation started when Mr Nyarko demanded his drugs, money and the chain he was wearing, which belonged to his grandfather. Pictured: officers and paramedics at the scene
Mr Dein said the defendant refused to give up his necklace as it had sentimental value, having previously been his grandfather’s.
He claimed the defendant heard a bottle smash and felt a blow to his head before seeing Mr Nyarko ‘moving his hands to where he believed a knife to be’.
‘[The defendant] swung out in his defence,’ said Mr Dein. ‘The defence admits that in the course of the incident he must have stabbed Jason Nyarko a number of times. This was a very fast moving incident.
‘It was Jason Nyarko whom the defendant believed was armed with a knife.
‘It is clear from the footage that Jason Nyarko was pinning the defendant down.
‘Those in his company were certainly compensating by kicking the defendant in the head.
‘Whether he in fact would have been the victim of murder or manslaughter had the knife not been in his possession is a matter of pure speculation, but that is what he perceived.’
The Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft QC, accepted the defendant’s account that Mr Nyarko had confronted him.
‘As a consequence, you pulled out a knife and tried to warn him off’, he added.
‘You were acting in self defence, but with unreasonable force in these circumstances.
‘You didn’t intend to use the knife and never intended any violence.’
He jailed the defendant for four years and six months.
Afterwards, detective chief inspector Brian Howie, who led the investigation, said: ‘Jason’s death tragically illustrates the awful consequences that carrying weapons can bring – a young man’s life has been cut short in its prime and Jason’s family and friends have been left to deal with the pain of this loss.
‘In addition, a teenage boy will now spend time in prison as a result of his actions that night.’