Knife-carrying is at “endemic state” judge says after Barking gang is sentenced for Kelvin murder

As the four members of a Barking gang who killed a teenager were sentenced to 93 years in jail, a trial judge said the carrying of knives by youths was approaching an “endemic state”.

Dale Williams, 21, Lerone Boye, 26, and Roger Damali, 31, received life sentences for the murder of 17-year-old Kelvin Chibueze following a mass brawl at a nightclub in August last year.

Stabbed repeatedly

All four men were members of the Harts Lane street gang while Kelvin, from Croydon, was affiliated to the Dagenham Boys gang and went by the street name Boss Don Gramz.

Knives, bar stools and bottles were brandished during a fight inside the Arteflex nightclub in High Road, Ilford, before trouble spilled into the car park of Ilford Retail Park, where Kelvin collapsed.

He had been repeatedly stabbed with a foot-long blade.

Hugo Nwankwo, 18, of Park Avenue, East Ham – who was 16 at the time of the murder – was sentenced to 16 years in a young offenders’ institute.

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Sentencing the four at the Old Bailey on Thursday, Judge John Bevan QC said: “Carrying knives, at least three on each side, is a comparatively modern phenomenon, which is approaching an endemic state among feckless, aimless youths who think nothing of wielding and using of knives in the face of the slightest provocation or perceived insult.”

He spoke of a “veil of silence” that fell over the main participants in the case.

Kelvin’s best friend refused to give evidence to the court.

Kelvin’s mother Tina said: “If they did not get involved in gangs, they would not have to go through this.

“When you are in gangs, something like this is going to happen and they are cowards for not helping the police.”

Det Insp Dermott Carroll, who investigated the murder, said: “It’s a relief for his family, for his mother, she gets the closure.

“But it won’t bring Kelvin back to her.”

Williams, of Harts Lane, Barking; Boye, of Henley Road, Ilford, and Damali, of Macaulay Road, East Ham, will serve a minimum of 26, 28 and 23 years respectively.

All four men were convicted of murder and violent disorder.

Det Insp Dermott Carroll believes there are still people with information about the murder. Police particularly want to trace a man called Odane Smith, who is known to have connections to Ilford and Barkingside. Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111