Young drug runner found guilty of the manslaughter of a teenager in Leamington
The court heard that the death was part of dispute over county lines drug dealing in the town
The teenage drug runner who fatally stabbed 17-year-old rival Nasir Patrice by stabbing him with a sword in a Leamington flat has been cleared of his murder.
But the jury at Warwick Crown Court found the 17-year-old from Lewisham, London, who cannot be named because of his age, guilty of an alternative charge of manslaughter.
He was also cleared of the attempted murder of one of Nasir’s friends, Abdul Moustapha, but convicted of wounding him with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.
The defendant, who was 16 at the time of the offences, was also found guilty of a further charge of perverting the course of justice by later disposing of his blood-stained clothing.
The jury had spent ten hours and 15 minutes considering the evidence in the case before returning their guilty verdicts by a majority of 10-2.
Remanding the defendant in custody, Mr Justice Turner said he will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Also to be sentenced with him are Richard Talawila (19) of Northwick Avenue, Harrow; Abraham Kombey (19) from Erith, London, but of no fixed address; and William Hutsch (18) of Osborn Terrace, Blackheath, London, who all pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to perverting the course of justice.
The jury had heard that the background to the incident was a clash between rival drug dealers, after Natasha Owen allowed the defendant and two others to use her flat in Tachbrook Road, Leamington, as a base.
The defendant, described as a ‘runner’ supplying drugs, was staying at a guesthouse in Warwick with Talawila, Kombey and Hutsch, but spent the night at the flat on January 14 last year.
The following morning Miss Owen was out when the buzzer went and homeless Christopher Galvin, who was also allowed to stay there on occasions, opened the door.
Prosecutor Michael Burrows QC said Mr Galvin was punched, and Nasir, Mr Moustapha and a third youth pushed their way in.
Mr Galvin told the jury he took the opportunity to escape and ran outside from where he heard someone shouting: “Put it down, put it down.”
The three intruders then ran out screaming for help, and Nasir collapsed on the ground, having received four stab wounds including one which had gone through his body and one which had damaged his pulmonary artery, from which he died.
Mr Galvin agreed with Adam Davis QC, defending, that the defendant had been ‘set up’ to be robbed, but said he had not been involved in that.
Giving evidence, the defendant had said that when Mr Galvin opened the door, he heard running.
“It sounded like a stampede, and I was approached by someone with a Rambo knife. He looked at me, and I looked at him.
“This was a split second, and he tried to swing at me. I put my legs up to try to defend myself, and he caught me with the knife to my left thigh.
“The kitchen door was open, and the knife I had was leant by the radiator.”
He agreed it was ‘a big knife,’ which, doing what he did, he said he always had with him in case of such situations, and he managed to reach for it.
Asked what happened next, he said: “I took it out of the scabbard. I got the knife out. He tried to swing his knife at me, and at this point I swung the knife at him.
“The knife connected with him. I felt it connect. He tried to knife me again, and I tried to swing back at him again. He tried to swing again, and missed again.
“I swung again. I connected. I move back a bit, but he’s still coming at me.”
Asked whether he knew where he had ‘connected,’ he replied: “No, but I knew it was the upper body.
“Someone else leaned over the first person, and I swung at him, to the upper body.
“As they’re trying to attack me I’m jabbing the knife. It was a life death situation, I’m thinking I’m going to be stabbed.”
But the jury rejected his claim that he had only been acting in self-defence.
Ben Smith, head of local policing at Warwickshire Police, said: “No family expects to lose a loved one in these circumstances, and sadly, this tragic incident is testament to the fear, misery and devastation that county lines offences can cause in our communities.
“We are dedicated to tackling the supply of illegal drugs in Warwickshire and protecting those who are vulnerable to these offences - we will do everything we can to keep our county safe.
“Our thoughts remain with all those who knew Nasir.”