A drug dealing university student who stabbed an undergraduate to death has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 21 years.

Melvin Lebaga-Idubor, 20, was found guilty of murdering 20-year-old digital marketing student Kwabena Osei-Poku in the street near to the University of Northampton halls of residence on April 23 last year.

Lebaga-Idubor, originally from Barking, stabbed Mr Osei-Poku in the neck and torso.

Passing sentence on Wednesday, Judge David Herbert KC said he was sure the killer had been in possession of a combat-type knife before he was arrested outside Birmingham’s Mango nightclub six months before the murder.

Lebaga-Idubor, who fled to France following the murder, was also found guilty of possessing a knife at the time he killed Mr Osei-Poku.

Originally from Peterborough, Mr Osei-Poku was described in family victim impact statements as the perfect brother and someone with a strong desire to help others in his local community.

Judge Herbert told Lebaga-Idubor, who, the court heard, grew up in an “exceptionally good” home, that he had reduced the minimum term to 21 years from a statutory starting point of 25 years because of a number of mitigating factors.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Melvin Lebaga-IduborMelvin Lebaga-Idubor (Image: PA)He told Lebaga-Idubor: “Kwabena, or Alfred as he was known, was a young man with many positive qualities who had his whole life ahead of him.

“He was a loving son and a loving elder brother who brought joy to all his family.

“I recognise that no sentence I pass will reduce the grief and loss that his family will continue to feel for the rest of their lives.”

Accepting that the victim was himself armed with a knife, and was also involved in selling cannabis, the judge told Lebaga-Idubor: “The evidence shows that you had previously carried a knife in public in October 2022.

“This case, sadly, is yet another one before the courts that highlights the dangers caused by people prepared to carry knives in public.”

The killing happened after Lebaga-Idubor decided to warn Mr Osei-Poku against dealing drugs on campus, the judge said, telling the court: “You made it clear he was selling drugs on what you considered to be your territory.

“You were armed with a flick-knife.

“You wanted the confrontation to continue in a place where you thought there would be no witnesses and no CCTV coverage of what took place.”

The victim had also stabbed Mr Lebaga-Idubor at some point during the fatal altercation, the judge acknowledged.

“I am not sure you intended to kill him,” Judge Herbert continued. “However, you intended really serious injury, at least.

“What took place shows the consequences of rival drug dealers arming themselves with knives and then producing them.”

Lebaga-Idubor’s trial heard the stabbing took place in New South Bridge Road, where a bag of cannabis was later found.

The jury was also told that the victim, known by the nickname KP, had been suspended or excluded by the university in November or December 2022, but had been allowed back in February 2023.

The judge also sentenced 19-year-old Antonio Huian, formerly of Royal Terrace, Northampton, for doing acts tending or intended to pervert the course of justice by assisting Lebaga-Idubor following the killing.

The court heard Huian was in a car which picked up his injured friend and took him to Northampton General Hospital.

He then burnt clothing belonging to Lebaga-Idubor, destroying scientific evidence, and provided him with clothing in which he travelled to London.

Imposing a 14-month sentence of detention, suspended for 21 months, Judge Herbert told Huian: “It must have been crystal clear to you that he wanted to avoid the authorities.

“I have decided by a whisker that I can suspend the sentence in your case.”

Lebaga-Idubor’s then partner, Zhanae Forbes-Coleman, 19, was cleared at last year’s trial of attempting to pervert the course of justice

Jurors also acquitted Ogechi Eke, 19, of unlawfully killing Mr Osei-Poku and possessing a knife.