Oxford Street Foot Locker stabbing: Man cleared of murder
A man has been cleared of stabbing a teenager to death in a shop in London's Oxford Street during the Boxing Day sales last year.
Seydou Diarrassouba, 18, of Mitcham, south-west London, died after being attacked in the Foot Locker sports shop, near Bond Street Tube station.
The court was told Jermaine Joseph, of Tottenham, north London, acted in self defence when chased by Mr Diarrassouba.
The 23-year-old was cleared of murder and manslaughter.
The four-week Old Bailey trial had heard Mr Diarrassouba received a 10cm (4in) wound from a knife which broke due to the force of the blow.
'Classical self defence'
Mr Joseph told the trial Mr Diarrassouba came at him with a knife.
He said: "He chased me. I stabbed him to stop him stabbing me. It's like a dog chasing the cat - the cat still shows his claws."
The jury was told Mr Joseph was acting in "classical self-defence" against the leader of one of the most dangerous gangs in London.
He was the victim not the aggressor in the case, said his defence barrister Michael Bromley-Martin QC.
He told the jury that Mr Diarrassouba had the street name of "nutz" - which was a reference to his violent behaviour - and was the leader of the ABM (All 'Bout Money) gang.
"You can see what is said about that gang - one of the most dangerous in London," Mr Bromley-Martin said.
Mr Diarrassouba had been violent from a very young age and had inflicted grievous bodily harm by breaking someone's jaw when he was 14 years old, he told the court.
He said witness after witness said it was Mr Diarrassouba and his associates who were the aggressors.
"You get from that, don't you, a pretty good idea of who these people were and what they were like, they are like, and it gives you an idea what it is they were intending to do when they started to chase Jermaine Joseph on 26 December," Mr Bromley-Martin told the court.
The prosecution had said the stabbing was the result of "gang violence" on the street.
'Ugly, brutish violence'
Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said: "The grievance was evidently a deep and powerful one.
"It led almost instantly to ugly, brutish violence in broad daylight in a packed street on the busiest shopping day of the year.
"You may think that was one of the days and places people could go in peace."
Mr Joseph's co-defendant Thulani Khumalo was acquitted of murder and manslaughter during the same trial on 15 November.