A teenager has been found guilty of stabbing an Afghan refugee to death hours after he was given a non-custodial sentence for possession of a Rambo knife.
The 17-year-old killer attacked Hazrat Wali on sports grounds in Twickenham in front of shocked schoolchildren.
The promising cricketer from Notting Hill in west London died of massive blood loss an hour after the stabbing on October 12, 2021.
The defendant, who cannot be named due to his age, then went with his friends to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant where he assaulted an employee.
Jurors were told that the defendant, who was enrolled in a university course, was caught with a black knife at Southside Shopping Center in Wandsworth two months before the August 5, 2021 murder.
He pleaded guilty to that offense and was issued a juvenile rehabilitation order at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on the morning of 12 October.
Later that afternoon, Mr. Wali was sitting in the park with a friend when he was approached by the defendant and a group of other teenagers.
The court heard that after a short conversation, the defendant challenged Mr. Wali, before he took out a 20 cm black knife with zigzag notches on the blade and stabbed him in the right side of the chest.
On Tuesday at the Old Bailey, the teenager was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter by a majority of 10 to 2 after claiming he had acted in self-defence.
Children who had played in a rugby match between Richmond School and Hampton School witnessed the stabbing and staff administered first aid.
The emergency services attended but were able to save Mr. Wali’s life.
The youngster gave evidence in court, claiming he brought out the knife because they were “pushing each other” and he wanted to be left alone.
He said he got “scared” when Mr. Wali called his male friend for “backup”, adding: “I thought he had something on him, a knife.”
Mr Wali left Afghanistan in 2015 when he was 13 and after a short time in Austria he moved to the UK and settled in London in 2017.
Scotland Yard said he was described by everyone who knew him in all care settings as shy, friendly, polite and respectful of everyone he met.
Detective Matt Denby said: “Tragically, yet another young life has been cut short by people carrying knives.
“This was an utterly senseless murder. Incidents like this highlight why tackling knife crime is a priority for the Met, and why we work tirelessly with our partners to bring to justice those who carry knives on the streets.
“It is my sincere hope that Hazrat’s loved ones find some measure of comfort in this belief. My thoughts are with them and the community who have supported the family all along.”
The suspect will be sentenced on March 10.