London

Gang guilty of Stockwell community centre killing

Donald McNicol Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Donald McNicol was killed as he searched for jobs, the Old Bailey heard

Four youths who beat a father of two to death in 45 seconds at a community centre in south-west London have been convicted.

They turned on Donald McNicol, 54, as he used a computer to look for jobs in Stockwell on 2 December last year, the Old Bailey heard.

Monsur Rahman, 19, his brother Mamunoor Rahman, 18 and Daniel Okello, 20, were found guilty of murder.

Ibrahim Ford, 17, was convicted of manslaughter.

'Vicious onslaught'

The court heard Mr Nicol had a chair thrown at him and was repeatedly punched, leaving him crumpled on the floor with blood all over his face.

He suffered a serious brain injury and died in hospital two weeks later.

Divorced Mr McNicol was born in Zimbabwe and was known as a private person who was "good-natured and quiet", the jury was told.

He used computers at Stockwell Park Community Centre in Aytoun Place to look for engineering jobs.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Monsur Rahman, 19, and Daniel Okello, 20, rounded on Mr Nicol with the rest of the gang, the court heard

On the day of the attack, the youths were seen to be "arguing and bickering among themselves".

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Ibrahim Ford, 17, (left) was convicted of manslaughter, and Mamunoor Rahman, 18, of murder

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said: "Monsur Rahman started an argument with Donald McNicol and within seconds the rest of the group joined in.

"It was a vicious onslaught and out of all proportion to any threat that was posed by Mr McNicol.

"The whole incident had taken about 45 seconds, perhaps a minute. It was very, very quick."

According to differing witness accounts, the argument erupted because Mr McNicol refused to give up his place at a computer terminal or because he complained about noise.

'Thoughtful man'

Det Ch Insp Tim Duffield, who headed the police investigation, called it a "a most vicious and cowardly attack".

He said: "In contrast to his assailants, Donald was a caring, dignified and thoughtful man."

All the defendants, including Monsur Rahman of Church Road, Mitcham, had denied murder.

Mamunoor Rahman of High Street, Croydon - who pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of manslaughter - admitted assaulting Mr McNicol with a chair but denied that he meant to cause him really serious harm.

Meanwhile, Okello of Ambleside Avenue, Streatham, admitted landing a single punch and the others denied having anything at all to do with the attack.

Ford of Bellefields Road, Stockwell, was acquitted of murder but found guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter.

Earlier in the trial, co-defendants Dalton Williams, of Norwich Road, Thornton Heath, and Gino Sawyers, of Stedman Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, both 19, were formally cleared of murder on the direction of the judge.

Those convicted will be sentenced on 31 October.

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