London

Gang members get life terms for East Dulwich bus murder

From left to right - Lennie John, Colin Aghatise and Jordan Williams
Image caption John, Aghatise and Williams were members of the GMG gang

Three gang members have been given life terms for murdering a teenager who was stabbed 24 times in south-east London.

Daniel Graham, 18, was attacked with knives and a bottle in front of passengers after he jumped off a 176 bus in East Dulwich in January 2011.

Jordan Williams, 17, was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years while Colin Aghatise, 16, was given 15 years.

Lennie John, 24, was jailed for a minimum of 22 years. All three were found guilty of murder on Wednesday.

They were members of the GMG gang, which also calls itself Guns, Murder and Girls.

Williams, who turned 17 in January, has stood trial for two murders, including Mr Graham's.

'Pack of hyenas'

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Pontius said: "Daniel Graham was murdered in circumstances of horrific and merciless brutality.

"He was killed in an attack which for all its brevity, was intensely ferocious.

"At least four and probably more, played an active part. They were acting like a pack of hyenas."

Image caption Daniel Graham had volunteered with the NSPCC charity

In a victim impact statement Mr Graham's mother Stephanie described her oldest son as a "bright, bubbly, caring and friendly".

"The pointless and senseless actions of these cowards deprived Daniel of a future.

"He was defenceless and frightened. Why should he die alone?

"I did not get the chance to give him one last hug, one final kiss or the chance to tell him I loved him or to say goodbye.

"I know in my heart that Daniel never gave his attackers any reason to stab him once let alone twenty four times."

Williams and Aghatise, both of Peckham, south London, and John, also from south London, were found guilty following a trial at the Old Bailey.

During the trial the court heard that a row had broke out between the victim's friends and another group of youths after a gun was fired, hitting a youth in the leg, during an under-18s event at Dulwich Hamlet Football Club.

Duncan Penny, prosecuting, told the jury that the victim's group fled after coming under attack but they were chased.

Mr Graham got on to the bus to escape his attackers, but he changed his mind and got off the bus.

Mr Penny said the fatal attack, in front of passengers, "lasted in the region of 45 seconds".

"In that short period he had received 24 stab wounds."

Mr Graham had gained seven GCSEs and was doing business studies and also did voluntary work for the children's charity NSPCC.