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Liam Woodards stabbing: Man guilty of Westfield murder

Liam Woodards Image copyright other
Image caption Liam Woodards was stabbed to death at Westfield Stratford

A teenager has been found guilty of the murder of a man who was stabbed after a yogurt pot was thrown in Westfield Stratford shopping centre in east London, sparking a gang fight.

Liam Woodards, 24, was attacked in front of horrified shoppers on 29 June 2012, weeks before the Olympics.

Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith, 19, of Hackney, was found guilty of murder by a majority of 11 to one at the Old Bailey.

Two other men were convicted of violent disorder.

'Filled with hurt'

The two groups exchanged words and items including a yogurt pot were thrown before Mr Woodards was stabbed, the Old Bailey was told.

The jury spent 67 hours over 13 days considering its verdict.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith will be sentenced on Monday

A previous trial collapsed due to an "irretrievable breakdown" among jurors.

Commending the retrial jury, the judge, Richard Marks QC, said: "It is very apparent to me, and no doubt to everyone else involved in this case, how assiduously you have carried out your duties."

Tony Caton, 22, of Stratford, and Anselm Legemah, 19, of Newham, were convicted of violent disorder, while five other people were cleared of the same charge. Those convicted will be sentenced on Monday.

Det Insp John Nicholson said: "This was a shocking attack in the middle of Westfield in front of horrified shoppers."

In an impact statement, the victim's mother Frances Woodards said: "When I think about the boy who cold-heartedly took my son's life, I am filled with hurt.

"When I received the news of Liam's death I was in shock. Since that day my life has not been the same. It feels as if a part of me is missing. It hurts to know that I will no longer hear Liam's voice or see his face again."

Five other men - Riaz Anderson, 19, of Walthamstow, Tristan Mullings, 21, of Holloway, Rhys Regisford, 21, of Plaistow, Michael Ndefo, 22, also of Plaistow, and Danny Caton, 24, of Stratford - have previously pleaded guilty to offences relating to the disorder.

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