The father of murdered South Norwood schoolboy Kevin Ssali has said he forgives his son’s teen killer.
Roree Cox, 18, from New Cross, was found guilty of murdering the 14-year-old after stabbing him on a bus in Lee Green in a dispute over a woolly hat in September 2012.
Kevin, who lived with his mother Clemence Mudage in Whitworth Road, had been missing for two months before he was stabbed.
Kevin’s father Sewa Ssali said parts of the trial were “horrific” but its conclusion had helped bring closure, adding he was "thrilled" his son has been exonerated.
The 55-year-old, of Lewisham, said: "The trial was quite lengthy, but we are absolutely thrilled that at least Kevin has been exonerated because there was this issue that he was the tormentor.
“At the end of the day, this was a complete fabrication. It was the other way round. They bullied him. It was horrific to hear some of these things in the trial.
"Last time I said there were lots of things that were haunting us and things unanswered, but actually quite a lot of information came out during the trial so it’s a very big relief and it provides some closure to the whole episode.”
Cox ran onto the 202 bus, which had been travelling down Burnt Ash Road, brandishing a knife before stabbing Kevin once on the top deck.
He denied murder but jurors found him unanimously guilty on January 15.
About Cox, Mr Ssali said: “I have no vengeance. I forgive him, it is up to him to come to it now himself.
“It is a terrible tragedy because these are kids who under normal circumstances should be playing together, contributing to society.
"We all as a society have got to sit down and question ourselves and think what it is that we are not doing right - that our kids are ending up in a situation like this.”
He added the death of Nelson Mandela during the trial helped him with his attitude of forgiveness and hopes to work towards preventing further tragedies happening.
Kevin, who had two half brothers Tim Ssali, 25, Bobby Gillam, six, and two half sisters Sara-Marie Ssali, five, and Anne Ssali, 36, dreamt of becoming a bank manager.
Tim Ssali, who lives in Catford, said of his brother: “He was very friendly with everyone, he got on with everyone.
"Sometimes I went with him to the park – he would just get anyone to play with anyone."
Speaking of the guilty verdict, mechanical engineering student said: "It was a very big relief and hopefully that sends out a message to the youths carrying knives that they won’t get away with it.
"It was over something very little. I am wondering how it happened. It shows you are not safe anywhere in London – that even over a minor thing someone could go that far."