Three Men Jailed for Life for Murdering Sofyen

Sentenced for "ferocious and merciless" attack on Fulham schoolboy

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Three men have been jailed for at least 18 years each for murdering a 15-year-old Fulham schoolboy at a tube station.

Sofyen Belamouadden, who was a pupil at Henry Compton School, was stabbed nine times after pupils from two rival schools clashed at Victoria station in March 2010.

Obi Nwokeh, 19, Christopher Omoregrie, 18, and Samson Odegbune, 18, were given life sentences at the Old Bailey and told they must serve a minimum of 18 years. They were also ordered to serve concurrent eight year detention sentences for conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.

The judge, Christopher Moss, said the "ferocious and merciless attack" took place in front of horrified commuters. "You gathered together for the purpose of serious mass violence in a busy public place at the height of the rush hour," he said.

The judge was sentencing eight people found guilty of various offences during a series of trials. He said the 12 second attack on Sofyen had followed a minor confrontation the day before between pupils of two west London schools in the food area of Victoria station.

After messages by text and on Facebook, pupils from the defendants' school armed themselves with knives and a samurai sword, expecting the other group to attack their school. But the confrontation came at Victoria when pupils from Sofyen's school were charged by teenagers led by Odegbune holding the sword.

A breakaway group chased Sofyen into the tube ticket office area and kicked, stabbed and struck him with other weapons as travellers watched in disbelief. The judge said the youths had shown no remorse and had not acknowledged responsibility for the death.

Earlier, Sofyen's father, Abdeslan, 51, said his son had been a promising footballer who dreamed of playing for England. "He was a star in the making. He was an outstanding all-round player. He was born and bred in London and often talked of his ambition to represent England in the World Cup final."

As well as attending school in Fulham, Sofyen played football for Chelsea Kickz, a scheme run by the Premier League club for young people in deprived areas, and for Acton Garden Village Youth Sunday League team.

After his death, a Chelsea FC spokesman paid tribute to him, saying Sofyen was a talented footballer and adding that he was a "valued participant" in the scheme.

His schoolmates at Henry Compton School created an impromptu memorial in the playground and decorated it with flowers and tributes. The school also created two writing walls where students could leave their own personal messages.

Abdeslan said in an impact statement that Sofyen's death had left his family devastated. "I have no wish to inflict revenge on the culprits but Sofyen, whose life was tragically cut short, would expect justice to take its course. I often think of the suffering he must have gone through, that he was set upon with such savagery and why I was not there to protect him," he said.

Sofyen's mother, Naima Belamouadden, said: "I hope the memory of what they did to my son lives with them every day as it lives with me."

Adonis Akra, 18, Samuel Roberts, 19, and Femi Oderinwale, 18, were found guilty of manslaughter and given 12 years' detention each.

Tyrone Richards, 17, and Enoch Amoah, 19, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit GBH and were sentenced to seven years' detention.

Victoria Osoteku, 19, the only woman charged in connection with the death, was also found guilty of manslaughter and is due to be sentenced this week.

April 23, 2012