Teenagers locked up over deadly knife attack on student

Two teenagers who killed an A grade student in a horrifying Rambo knife attack caught on CCTV have been locked up.

William Haines, 18, set upon Yusuf Mohamed, 18, stabbing him in the heart outside a grocery shop in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, on the evening of June 26 last year.

“Gentle soul” Mr Mohamed sought refuge in the store where he was followed by Haines’ 17-year-old friend who knifed him in the leg as he cowered on the floor, the Old Bailey heard.

Afterwards, the attackers were seen on CCTV smiling as they gave each over a congratulatory “fist bump”.

William Haines
William Haines was handed a minimum term of 17 years (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Haines, who refused to attend court, was sentenced in his absence to life with a minimum term of 17 years after being found guilty of murder and possessing a blade.

The 17-year-old was handed 10 years in custody having been cleared of murder but admitted manslaughter and having a knife.

The court heard Haines, of Acton, west London, had two previous convictions for having blades in public in 2019 and had been on bail at the time of the attack.

In a victim impact statement, the victim’s sister Ayan Mohamed described him as a “gentle soul” who was kind and quiet.

The A* student had been awaiting his A-level results and dreamed of studying engineering at university when his life was “snatched away so brutally”, she said.

She added: “Yusuf’s future has been snatched from him. We will never get to see the man he was to become.”

Judge Angela Rafferty QC paid tribute to family members for their quiet dignity throughout the trial.

Yusuf Mohamed
Yusuf Mohamed was stabbed to death in Shepherd’s Bush (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Sentencing, the judge described how Mr Mohamed was attacked “without warning or provocation”.

She told the 17-year-old defendant in the dock: “He was walking in the street when he encountered William Haines and you.

“William Haines walked across the street to confront him. He took out a large knife he had been carrying. He stabbed Yusuf to the heart. The wound was 20cm deep.

“This was in broad daylight in public view. Yusuf had no time to defend himself whatsoever.

“As he lay on the ground you used a large knife and lunged at him repeatedly in his leg.

“Those moments for Yusuf Mohamed must have been filled with horror, terror and confusion.

“You accepted that Yusuf would have been very, very afraid at the time you started attacking him with a knife.”

The judge said Haines had provided no real explanation, only that he “acted in anger and saw red” while the younger defendant had said he followed him because of “peer pressure”.

Sarah Dale, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This devastating, cowardly and unprovoked attack has led to the death of an innocent 18-year-old who had so much to look forward to in life.

“On what should have been a routine walk to the nearby shop for some milk, Yusuf was set upon for no apparent reason.

“Armed with knives and in the violent way that these defendants attacked him, there could be no doubt as to their deadly intentions. After they fatally stabbed Yusuf, they fist-bumped in callous celebration.

“Nothing can take away the pain that Yusuf’s family and friends must be feeling, but we hope these convictions provide them with some level of comfort at this distressing time.”

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