A gang member who hunted down a talented footballer and stabbed him to death has been jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 21 years behind bars.
Alex Smith, 16, was murdered in an ongoing tit-for-tat feud between Camden gangs from the Regent’s Park and Agar Grove estates.
Killer Arif Biomy, 19, was one of six members of the Agar Grove gang who drove around in two stolen cars looking for rivals from the ‘Cumbo’ gang, from the Regent’s Park estate.
Biomy was at the wheel of a Seat Leon on false plates when they spotted Alex shortly after he left Nando’s with friends late on August 12 last year.
Alex, a former Southampton youth footballer, was chased and knifed at least twice in Munster Square, Camden.
He died from a stab wound to the chest from the ‘fearsome weapon’ that was over half a metre in length.
The teenager was originally from Islington but had moved to Wembley.
Biomy himself had been knifed twice in the dispute – in December 2017 he was stabbed four times and nearly lost his life last May 19 after he was knifed in St Pancras Way.
He denied the attack on Alex was ‘payback’ but he was convicted of murder after a trial at Inner London Crown Court and told he will serve a minimum of 21 years behind bars.
The two stolen cars used by the gang on the night of the gangland slaying were later found burnt out.
The Seat driven by Biomy had been torched in East Barnet while a Ford Fiesta was found in Kilburn Park.
Judge Jeremy Donne QC slammed the ‘blight’ of gang violence that ’cause an enormous amount of fear within the communities where they take place’.
He said: “Alex smith was truly hunted down by two cars and six people. During the final minutes of his life he must have been truly terrified of what was to happen.
“Your victim was a 16-year-old youth. A child. He himself sadly had been involved with gangs for some time which is why he was your target.
“The motivation for the attack on Alex Smith clearly was the fact that you, Arif Biomy, had yourself been stabbed and very seriously injured some three months before.
“The perpetrators of the attack on you were linked to the rival Cumbo gang. And it is simply a fact of this case that Alex Smith was with others on the night of August 12 who were linked to the Cumbo gang.
“Alex Smith ran out into the middle of the road, no doubt drawing attention to himself. Both your car and the Ford Fiesta turned round and pursued him north.
“You chased him into Munster Square and you and the other driver tried to follow but could not because of the bollards. The Ford Focus was then driven to Munster Square and you drove your car around a block.
“The only reason was you were looking for the other two who had got away. In the meantime Alex Smith was hunted down and stabbed to death.
“It cannot be said that you do not know the consequences of this sort of crime You had on your phone images of the graves of two of your associates who had been killed in knife attacks previously.
“Community workers and parents seemingly at a loss how to deal with these events. The consequences are inevitably tragic as its been made too plain by the personal statements made by parents of Alex Smith.”
Alex’s mother Beatrice said in a statement read to the court: “My son was hunted by a pack.
“Not in a million years would I have expected six people and two cars would be involved in the death of my son.
“It has been imposed on me by the actions of others. Those who did this had a choice. He was a loving, kind, handsome, funny, generous, intelligent, full of life young man. He was my precious baby boy. He was still a child. The people who did this were all adults.
“It was so difficult to process that he was gone forever. I still keep hoping he’s coming back. Then we had the task or organising the funeral. What parents wants to organise a funeral for their child? What happened to my son’s beautiful face was the worst thing I’ve ever had to witness.
“His skin had deteriorated in condition and the only thing that looked the same was his lovely curly hair.
“Coming to this trial and having to look at the faces of the perpetrators has been really hard. I look at them and feel nothing, not even hatred.”
His dad wrote: “I have always protected my boy. But where was I when Alex was running down the street begging for help, being chased by men with knives?
“I hear him in my nightmares. I can’t sleep at all because of my nightmares. When I do fall asleep I fall asleep weeping and wake up weeping.
“No father should ever have to bury his own son. I had to tell my own mother her grandson was dead. This was the second time. My brother’s son had been murdered when he too was just 16.”
Earlier prosecutor Brian O’Neill QC, prosecuting, said: “This was a revenge attack specifically for the incident in which Arif Biomy almost lost his life.
“Everything that happened was planned with the intended outcome.
“He has 21 previous convictions for 51 offences. Those include five occasions when he was convicted for possessing a bladed weapon.
“It is plain the intention was to kill.”
Yusuf Yusuf, 19, had admitted assisting an offender by setting light to the stolen cars.
Judge Donne sentenced Yusuf to 34 months detention for destroying the evidence which could have helped the other killers flee the country.
The judge told him: “To say you are a foolish young man is an extraordinary understatement.
“You pleaded guilty to setting fire to the vehicles and the whole point of that was to destroy any evidence the police might have been able to obtain, including fingerprints of the occupants.
“One of the occupants, he was able to leave the jurisdiction some 48 hours later.
“It will never be known if he could have been prevented from leaving the jurisdiction but in my judgement it is highly likely police would have been able to recover fingerprints and his name on a passenger list on an aeroplane would have been discovered.”
Biomy, of Wickham Lane, Plumstead, southeast London, denied but was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 21 years.
Yusuf, of Sandwell Crescent, West Hampstead, admitted assisting an offender.
Detectives are continuing their efforts to bring the four outstanding suspects to face justice.
Police believe they know the identity of two passengers from the Fiesta.
Both men, aged 19 and 20 at the time of the incident, left the UK within days of the murder and are thought to still be abroad.
The identity of another passenger is still unknown.
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