London

Stefan Appleton 'Zombie Killer' machete death: Boy jailed for life

Blaise Lewinson Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Blaise Lewinson attacked his victim in Nightingale Park

A boy who stabbed a teenager to death with a "Zombie Killer" machete in a London park has been jailed for life.

Blaise Lewinson attacked Stefan Appleton, 18, while he was with friends in Nightingale Park in Islington on 10 June last year.

The 17-year-old, who can now be named after reporting restrictions were lifted, had been found guilty of manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

The judge said he regarded the killing as "very close to murder".

Lewinson, who was cleared of murder, must serve a minimum of nine years before he can be considered for release on licence.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Stefan Appleton was being chased by Lewinson when he tripped and fell

The trial heard he had stabbed Mr Appleton, a college student from Islington, in the leg and chest while children played on nearby swings and slides.

Lewinson was allegedly heard shouting "RP", standing for Red Pitch - a rival to another gang in the area - as he fled on the back of a moped following the attack.

In his defence, the killer said he had come under attack when he went to snatch back his bicycle which had been stolen by another boy.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Stefan Appleton's killer had been riding pillion on a stolen moped

Judge Hone said Lewinson was a "dangerous offender" who had a "fascination with illegal knives" and had shown "no true remorse".

He said his "history of previous offending and non-compliance with court orders justifies... a discretionary life sentence".

The trial had heard he had a previous conviction for possessing a blade after being caught with a lock-knife in a McDonald's restaurant a year before the killing.

Judge Hone said Lewinson could now be named as he should be identified as a deterrent to others and because of the public interest.

The alleged getaway rider, 17, was cleared of murder while another boy, also 17, was previously found not guilty of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.


What are 'zombie' knives?

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The machete used during the attack

The Metropolitan Police has issued guidance about "zombie" knives, advising that this is how certain ornate weapons are currently being marketed. The force says:

  • There is no specific shape or style, but they are very ornate and intended to shock
  • They can cause greater damage due to their size
  • They are being sold online and in some shops
  • The increase in knife carriage is not unique to London
  • Retailers need to take every possible step to ensure they are not selling any knife to a young person

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