The mother of fatally stabbed teenager Andre Aderemi has told of her son’s final words to her before he was killed on the Monks Hill Estate in Croydon.
Giving evidence today at the trial of four young men accused of the 19-year-old’s murder, Yemi Hughes told the Old Bailey the events that led to his death.
Ms Hughes told her son: “I’m letting you out with a heavy heart”, when she dropped him off on the estate on the evening of August 16 last year.
She said: “He smiled and said ‘I love you mum, I’ll be okay.’”
A month before his death Ms Hughes moved with her three sons to Kent, away from the estate they had lived on for eight years, following advice from the police.
Prior to this Mr Aderemi was involved in an ongoing dispute with the four men on trial, that initially erupted over the treatment of his friend Chloe Jansen.
On the day of Mr Aderemi’s death, his school teacher mum, who had taught one of the men on trial as a child, was returning with her three children to Croydon to visit her sister-in-law.
Within an hour of dropping her son off in the Monks Hill Estate, Mr Aderemi was found critically injured in Heather Way at about 7.40pm.
He later died in hospital at roughly 10.20pm.
Mr Aderemi’s friend Miss Jansen was in a relationship with Femi Cela, one of the defendants in the trial.
Ms Hughes said her son was upset because Cela had hurt her physically, and that he was angry.
She told the court, on the second day of the trial, that she believed Miss Jansen was the cause of the ongoing despite between Mr Aderemi and the men.
Ali Zahawy, 20, of Bramble Close, Shirley, Femi Cela, 19, of Fryston Avenue, Addiscombe, Jamell Lonergan, 19, of Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, and Rodney Mukasa, 20, of Greenview Avenue, Shirley, have all pleaded not guilty to murder.
The court heard Mr Aderemi was armed with a “large knife” on his return to the estate on the evening of his death.
Ms Hughes denied any knowledge of this.
Describing Mr Aderemi’s mood on the car journey to Croydon, Ms Hughes said: “He was laid back, sat with his hat over his face. No sign of him being agitated or knowing that anything was going to happen.
“He was relaxed.”
Mr Aderemi received messages from Cela telling him “they had run him out of the area and were taking over,” Ms Hughes told the jury.
“I told him not to worry about it it anymore because we don’t live there anymore.”
The court heard how Cela, who was taught by Ms Hughes as a boy, smashed up her car.
Ms Hughes told the jury: “I could hear glass being smashed outside, and I knew it was my car. Then the living window went.”
Police advised Ms Hughes and her three children to move away from the estate and installed a panic alarm in the house.
The trial continues.