Case: School Disco murder: Stephen Lewis
Stephen Lewis
Chris Mazekelua
Rissassy Nyimbi
Status: Solved
Categories: Teenage Victim
Case synopsis:

Fifteen year-old Stephen Lewis was not an angel. He had served a prison sentence for robbery and was linked to a group of youths in east London known as the 'Green Gang'.

He had even been moved from London to a children's home in Blackpool because of fears for his safety.

But he tragically became yet another victim of youth knife crime when he was stabbed to death after a petty argument with a teenager outside a disco.

Stephen had run away from Blackpool to go to the party at St Cedd's church hall in Plaistow, east London, on the night of January 14, 2009.

He was enjoying the event involving up to 400 teenagers when a group of boys from a rival area tried to gatecrash.

The organisers decided to end the party early and called police, who were already in the area as part of Operation Bland trying to prevent knife crime.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam, QC, said: 'It should have been an enjoyable evening.

'It ended in tragedy - a tragedy brought about by the endemic carrying of knives by young men.

'It is not the prosecution's case that this was an organised attack between gang members in what is sometimes described in the media as a 'postcode war', although it may have something to do with adolescent identification with different areas.'

As the crowd dispersed a local resident saw Stephen Lewis being surrounded by a group of ten to 15 boys wearing black clothing.

He was pushed against railings and punched twice in the head before being chased down Whitwell Road.

Another witness heard chants of 'Shank' as he was stabbed in the chest and the stomach.

Some of the youths were filming the attack on their mobile phones.

Police were on the scene seconds after it took place but were greeted by a wall of silence.

'The immediate request "did anyone see who did it?" was met with no response,' said Mr Whittam.

'Some of the girls present were pursued by a female officer, but replied "no, we didn't see it".'

One girl even said: 'I had my eyes closed.'

Detectives found several knives lying in the road after the attack and found another five blades in the boot of a nearby Renault Megane.

Only the 16 year-old best friend of Stephen had the courage to give evidence in court and was able to identify two of the attackers as Chris Mazekelua, 17, and Rissasy Nyimbi, 18.

Chris MazekeluaRissasy Nyimbi

Killers: Chris Mazekelua (left) and Rissasy Nyimbi (right)

Mazekelua, a self-proclaimed rapper, had threatened to 'shank' Stephen during a confrontation a few weeks before the murder.

Half an hour after the attack he was heard boasting: 'I did the murder' in a takeaway.

He was convicted of murder after a trial at the Old Bailey in October 2009 and jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years behind bars.

Nyimbi, who was studying his A-Levels, was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for eight years.

Judge Timothy Pontius QC : 'This case provides yet another example of the horrifying tragedy which so often results when knives are carried on the streets of this city.

'The circumstances of this case show that you anticipated trouble that night and were ready to fight if necessary.

'As a result of your actions a young life barely on the threshold of adulthood has needlessly been lost and a family have been robbed of a son, grandson, brother and nephew.

'To them it is far from another name on the depressingly long list of young lives lost on our streets.

'The courts have the clearest duty to discourage the routine carrying of knives on our streets by the imposition of severe sentences.

'Every knife or weapon carried on the street represents a public danger and therefore it is in the public interest that this crime must be confronted and stopped.'

The judge told Mazekelua: 'You are responsible for at least one of the two stab wounds inflicted during the attack in which a large number of people participated.

'Given the apparent glee you boasted about what you had done, I have no doubt it was your intention that he should die.'

He told Nyimbi: 'At the time you joined in the attack on Stephen Lewis you used a knife, if not to stab then certainly to attempt to stab him.

'You must have been aware of the obvious risk and that he was likely, perhaps inevitably, to get badly hurt.'

Stephen's supporters shouted 'hope you rot in there you f***ing sh*t', 'you murdering sh*t' and 'murdering b*stard' as Nyimbi was led to the cells.

Stephen LewisIn a victim impact statement read in court, Stephen's mother Sharon Grant said: 'Having seen him taken away from us so tragically in the blink of an eye is devastating.

'He was my third child, my first son and we were very close. Losing him is something we will never get over. Our family has lost such a massive personality.

'He had been in trouble and thankfully had realised that was not the way to go but sadly never got the chance to prove he was serious.

'It was two weeks until he was 16. He was so looking forward to turning 16. I will never forgive them for what they have done to my son. They have shown no remorse. It is a waste of three young lives for no reason.'

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