An innocent father was stabbed to death by a teenager after he walked into a street fight over stolen drugs, a court has heard.
Dwayne Roberts, 18, is accused of murdering Sri Lankan Tamil family man Akilankumar Kanthasamy, who was said to be “the wrong place at the wrong time” on the evening of October 20 last year.
Mr Roberts, who lives in a youth hostel in Mitcham Lane, Streatham, was accused by his own gangmates of committing the murder and getting rid of the murder weapon, which he tried to clean with detergent, in nearby Avenue Road.
Mr Kanthasamy, 28, was attending a family party at the New Horizon Centre in South Lodge Avenue, Pollards Hill, while staying in Thornton Heath, to celebrate the birth of a one-year-old baby girl.
After a punch-up broke out between rival groups of Sri Lankan and black youths, Mr Kanthasamy - uninvolved in the fight - was stabbed once in the heart by Mr Roberts, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.
Sarah Whitehouse, prosecuting, told the court Mr Roberts had joined-in to support a friend (Mr X) who had robbed Sri Lankan youth Sucane Rajagi of cannabis earlier that evening.
When Mr Rajagi and his friends let it be known they would seek revenge for the robbery, Mr X returned with others, who were sharing out the drugs on the Pollards Hill estate, to have a fight.
Mr X found another friend Frances Dadzie (known as ‘Chromez’), outside the community centre, with Mr Roberts (known as ‘D’), Daniel ‘Rekz’ Osborne, another friend who lives on the Pollards Hill estate called Karim, Karim’s sister, and a Polish girl called Daria.
Ms Whitehouse told the court: “As [Mr X] approached he could see that his friends were shouting and arguing with a group of Sri Lankans.
“Sucane pushed [Mr X] and [Mr X] punched him back. Everyone else began fighting.
“Somebody had a crutch and was hitting people with it.... A crutch was found at the scene and a crutch was also found in defendant Dwayne Roberts’ room later.
“According to [Mr X], Dwayne Roberts was there but not really involved in the fight.
“However, as the Sri Lankan group ran off back into the community centre, [Mr X] saw Dwayne with two knives.
“[Mr X] saw Dwayne walk over and stab the victim in the chest. He then pulled the knife out and the man stumbled into the centre.
“He died there a few minutes later.”
Ms Whitehouse said Mr Roberts then tried to get rid of the knife used in the murder, which a pathologist would later confirm was a consistent shape with Mr Kanthasamy’s fatal stab wound.
She said: “[Mr Roberts] had made extensive efforts to clean it because the sink in his room was covered in some sort of detergent.
“He walked to Avenue Road and discarded it in a box which was left out in one of the gardens there.
“The other knife was left in his room and the police found it there when they went to find him.”
“How did the police find all this out? They found out because [Mr X] told them about it. Nobody else knew that Dwayne Roberts had discarded the knife there.”
“Why should [Mr X] tell the police about it? Why should he – with an extensive criminal record, and having been involved in the theft which set the whole thing of, want to reveal his own involvement?
“He was going to betray his friend and, presumably, be seen as a grass, a snitch, a snake as it is known – the lowest of the low within the moral compass of his own peer group.”
When police later searched Mr Roberts’ hostel on the following Wednesday, they found the other knife in a sink which was covered in cleaning fluid.
They also found a pair of trainers with a footprint which matched a print mark left on the knife discarded in Avenue Road.
The following day, Mr Roberts was arrested by police who tracked him down at the home of his friend, Mr Osborne, in Redhill.
Mr Osborne gave police a similar account as [Mr X] - that Mr Roberts had killed Mr Kanthasamy.
When interviewed by police, Mr Roberts said nothing except for “no comment”.
As well as confirming Mr Kanthamsamy, from Harrow, had died from a single stab wound, it was also revealed he suffered from heart disease, despite being a young man, but this did not cause his death.
The trial continues.