Man Stabbed To Death On Halloween Night Was Jailed For Vicious Attack Which Left An England Youth Footballer With Permanent Brain Damage

A man who was stabbed to death on Halloween, was jailed for three years in 2008 after viciously attacking Arsenal and England youth footballer Sam Kanu, 24, who had challenged him for shoplifting bottles of wine at a London Bridge Costcutter. 

In what police called a race related attack, Mr Kanu suffered a shattered skull and damaged kidneys and liver in the attack which left him in a wheelchair with permanent brain damage following the vicious attack by Rocky Djelal, 38.

Djelal collapsed and died from fatal knife wounds next to a children’s playground after being stabbed near the entrance of Southwark Park in Rotherhithe just before 2pm Wednesday.


Witnesses said a fight broke out in the park next to the play area before a man was heard screaming “in agony.” Ambulance crews called to the park tried to save him but he died at the scene.

Reports say Djelal had recently been released from jail in connection with the murder of an innocent father.

The killing marks at least the 115th murder investigation launched in the capital this year.

Djelal, who lived locally, had recently been released following a six-year jail sentence for conspiracy to cause GBH after the murder of Christopher Foster in Southwark in 2013.

fosterFather-of-one, Mr Foster, 34, was knifed to death outside St Christopher’s Inn in Borough High Street in November 2013, in a mistaken identity killing.


Djelal had a murder charge against him dropped mid-trial after he and two others agreed to admit conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm instead of murder.

His co accused Aytach Lisani, 33, admitted murder and was jailed for life.


Mr Kanu suffered a shattered skull and damaged kidneys and liver in the attack which left him in a wheelchair with permanent brain damage. 

Last night a cousin of Mr Djelal claimed Djelal had been “turning his life around” .

A friend said: “I saw Rocky three days ago and he was fine but he had just got out of jail. I don’t think he was working, he used to be a labourer.

“He’s got kids, and I wonder if he was in the park with them when he was stabbed. They’re going to grow up without a dad now. I’m still in shock.”

One person who knew Mr Djelal said he may have been targeted in a revenge attack following an altercation last week.

Another added: “I know he was banged up for a while because you never saw him around here until recently.

His father is devastated and very angry. It doesn’t matter what Rocky had done in the past, no one deserves this.”

Scotland Yard said homicide detectives were investigating the full circumstances of the attack and appealed for witnesses to contact them.

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