A man who stabbed his friend to death just metres away from the victim’s young child has been convicted of his murder.
Lennox Appiah, 24 (18.06.93), of Bendmore Avenue, SE2, was found guilty of murder on Tuesday, 24 October, following a trial at the Old Bailey.
He will be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday, 25 October.
On Monday, 10 April, police were called at about 16:30hrs to reports of a man stabbed on Bournewood Road, SE18.
Officers, the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance attended and found 24-year-old Rene Richardson suffering stab wounds.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, Rene was pronounced dead at the scene at 17:37hrs.
At about 16:20hrs Rene, a father-of-two, was carrying his daughter to his car in Grasdene Road where it was parked.
At about 16:05hrs Appiah drove to the location in his car and parked it nearby before getting in his friend’s BMW. This car was parked up next to Rene’s car.
The court heard that Appiah had deliberately armed himself with a knife and was waiting for Rene to appear so he could confront him.
Rene left his address and walked passed the BMW that Appiah was sitting in. He had just managed to put his six-month-old daughter in the car when he was approached by Appiah.
The male who was sitting in the same vehicle as Appiah then got out of the car and tried to keep the two men apart.
Rene kept walking backwards away from Appiah, but Appiah pursued him and repeatedly kept trying to attack Rene with a knife. Eventually, Rene was unable to avoid the knife and he was fatally stabbed.
After being stabbed Rene managed to escape and was able to run the short distance to his home. On getting to his home, Rene struggled to get into the front door with his key, which alerted his mother who went to the door to investigate and found her injured son.
Before collapsing, Rene told his mother that his daughter was still in the car and that he had ‘been stabbed by Lennox’.
Rene’s distressed nine-year-old nephew then called the emergency services to report that his uncle had been stabbed.
Meanwhile, Appiah had driven off in his car. He was eventually located in Bognor Regis, Sussex, 24 hours later. He was arrested on suspicion of murder. He gave two no comment interviews before he was charged with Rene’s murder on Thursday, 13 April.
Detectives carried out a number of enquiries including speaking to witnesses, analysing mobile phone data and reviewing local CCTV, which captured the attack in its entirety.
A bloodstained mobile phone, dropped by Appiah at the scene was also found. The blood on the phone was found to match that of Appiah. There was a one in one billion chance that the DNA found on the phone was not Appiah’s.
Neither the knife nor the clothing worn by Appiah at the time of the stabbing have been recovered.
Detective Inspector Will Reynolds, the senior investigating officer from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “I believe that Appiah deliberately armed himself with a knife and chose to confront Rene that afternoon. He waited for him to come out of his house and on seeing Rene putting his daughter into his car, took advantage of the situation knowing that Rene would be unable to properly defend himself.
“He produced a knife and began to attack Rene. Rene did everything possible to protect himself from the attack and his main concern was clearly the safety of his young daughter. Despite being held back and restrained by his friend, Appiah managed to break free and eventually got close enough to stab Rene a number of times before fleeing in his own car.
“In court, Appiah tried to suggest that Rene had produced the knife and that he had disarmed him. Appiah stated that he feared for his life and only ‘waved’ the knife in Rene’s direction to scare him off. He went on to try and convince the jury that he never stabbed Rene and that Rene must have somehow accidentally impaled himself on the knife.
“However incontrovertible CCTV evidence showed this to be a wholly fabricated account and designed to mislead the jury who saw through this and rightly convicted him of murder.”
Rene’s sister, Natalie Edwards, said: “The murder of our Rene has shattered our family. Rene had a big personality, a kind heart and a caring nature and his absence has left a gaping void in our lives which will never be filled. He leaves behind his two children, who will never know the love that their father had for them.”