Case: Peckham stabbing: Ernest Kalawa
Ernest Kalawa
Derron Campbell
Status: Solved
Categories: Drug Related
Case synopsis:

Ernest Kalawa, 24, was chased and stabbed to death on a housing estate in Peckham on 30 December 2016.

Police and paramedics were called to an area outside Deerhurst House in Haymerle Road at around 5.30pm.

Mr Kalawa, who was also known as Alex and lived in Southwark, was pronounced dead at the scene and a post-mortem gave cause of death as multiple stab wounds.

On 14 February 2017  Klark Mangal, 21 (12.03.95), of Peckham, was charged with murder. The following day Derron Campbell, 23 (13.04.93), of Southwark, was charged with murder.

They both went on trial at the Old Bailey on 3 July 2017. Campbell was convicted of murder on 27 July and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 26 years before parole.

Mangal was cleared of murder but had earlier pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

derron campbell

Killer Derron Campbell and victim Ernest Kalawa

Prosecutor Timothy Cray QC told jurors the motive for the attack on Mr Kalawa was unclear because one of the key witnesses - a friend of the victim who managed to escape attack - was 'not exactly forthcoming about the background'.

He told jurors: 'Ernest Kalawa was singled out and then chased through the streets of Peckham.

'He must have known that he was in mortal trouble because he ran for his life, several hundred yards, into a housing estate trying to get away from the men chasing him.

'But as he got to an open area he tripped over some fencing and was down, couldn't move and was in effect defenceless on the ground.'

Mr Kalawa was stabbed at least 12 times all over his body before kicked 'like he was a football', the court heard.

A witness managed to note down the registration number of the grey Vauxhall Astra that Campbell used to get to and from the scene.

Campbell was arrested for a separate matter around six hours later and still had the key to the Astra, which was found burnt out near Old Kent Road two days later.

The car had been bought by Campbell but was registered to Mangal, who later admitted setting fire to the car after the attack.

Phone analysis also placed both suspects at the scene of the murder at the time it was carried out.

Judge John Bevan, QC, said: 'Mr Campbell, you earned your living by selling drugs. You have a very bad criminal record.

'You made it absolutely clear in evidence you never speak to the police, you clearly see them as the enemy.

'The intention I am satisfied was to kill, from the severity of the injuries.

'The set minimum of 25 years is a starting point. Your lifestyle and your criminal attitude forces me to increase this.

'The degree of violence makes it evident that the victim would have suffered before his death.

'The incident took place in public. Admittedly, it was dark and foggy but there were people who witnessed it.'

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Watling, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, led the investigation. He said: "Campbell has refused to say why he targeted Ernest that day in Peckham and, as such, only he knows why he did this.

"The brutality of the violence used in this attack was truly shocking and there can be no doubt that as he pursued Ernest, Campbell's only intent was to murder him.

"This process has been understandably traumatic for Ernest's family and I hope this result can begin to allow them to bring this harrowing chapter to a close."

Ernest's family said in a statement after the murder: "Ernest's tragic death is a massive loss to the family. Everyone is in shock and struggling to come to terms with the loss of our son, brother, cousin, and friend. At the moment the pain is still very fresh.

"Our family only really want time and space to grieve in private, and ask that the press and media respect our wishes. Ernest was loved and cherished and we all miss him deeply."

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