Two teenagers have been jailed for killing an aspiring mechanic in a Loughborough Junction youth club in front of terrified children.
Richon Florant, aged 18, from Peterborough Road in Waltham Forest, was found guilty of murder on September 3 at the Old Bailey and sentenced this week to eighteen years in prison.
Eighteen-year-old Chibuzo Ukonu, from Loughton’s High Road, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to fourteen years behind bars.
Their victim, 23-year-old Glendon Spence, from Lewisham, was found dying from a stab wound to the thigh inside Marcus Lipton Youth Club in Minet Road at quarter-to-seven on the night of Thursday, February 21.
He died at the scene under an hour later.
CCTV showed that Florant and Ukonu had arrived outside the youth centre in a BMW purchased a few days beforehand.
Glendon, who had attended the youth centre for several years, sought refuge there from his attackers, but the court heard that they followed him inside brandishing large knives and attacked him after he fell over a table tennis in front of distraught onlookers – including children as young as ten – before escaping in the car.
The day after the attack, Florant was detained at an airport where he had attempted to leave the UK on a flight bound for Uganda via Dubai.
Ukonu was arrested on Wednesday, February 27, at an address in Salford, Manchester.
Both were convicted after CCTV, witness statements and painstakingly collected forensic evidence, built the prosecution’s case.
However, police have yet to identify the driver of the BMW – and continue their investigation.
Glendon’s grieving parents described him as a “fantastic and much-loved son” and said his senseless death had “shattered us as a family”.
“There is no comfort anywhere and it is hard to accept what has happened,” they said in a statement after the sentences were announced.
“Our son was talented and he was unable to fulfil his aspirations to be a mechanic, not through any fault of his own but because of the evil act of these two men.
“Glendon did not know the perpetrators and he had no association with them whatsoever.
“Society will not tolerate what his killers did and we hope these sentences will allow them to recognise the evil the inflicted upon him by stabbing him to death for no reason.”
DCI Richard Vandenbergh from the Met’s specialist crime command said: “I would like to pay tribute to Glendon’s family for their dignity with which they have carried themselves throughout proceedings.
“We hope these sentences bring them some kind of closure.
“I would also like to thank the local community for their support and patience through the investigation.
“We endeavour to minimise the impact on witnesses following distressing incidents but we have a duty to the victims and their families in situations such as this, to collect evidence and investigate to the best of our abilities.”