A man who killed a stranger in Dulwich with a hunting knife after a row erupted over a cigarette has been convicted of murder.
Jahmel Michael Riley, 24 (25.08.94) of Lordship Lane, Southwark, was found guilty of murder on Friday, 16 August after killing 39-year-old Dennis Anderson (16.04.79) of Lewisham, following a fight in an off-license in East Dulwich.
He will be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, 20 August.
On Sunday, 10 February, Dennis was returning home from a party in the early hours of the morning, when he went into an off-license on Lordship Lane with a group of friends.
Riley was already present in the shop when the victim arrived and had been asking customers in the store if he could have a cigarette, appearing aggressive and impolite.
It was at this point that he asked Dennis the same question. An argument broke out between the two and Riley appeared to walk towards the door as if to leave the premises.
It was at this point that Riley unsheathed a large hunting knife.
Witnesses saw Riley raise the knife before Dennis stepped towards him and attempted to wrestle the weapon out of his hands. CCTV footage showed the struggle between the two men inside before they spilled out into the street through the door.
It was here that external footage from the store showed Riley on top of the victim, before making a stabbing motion towards the left side of his body, causing a deep cut to his neck.
Riley was dragged off by Dennis’s friends and hit, before fleeing the scene towards Crawthew Grove.
Officers then arrived at the scene at around 02:40hrs and immediately attempted first-aid. Despite significant efforts by officers and paramedics, Dennis was pronounced dead at 03:04hrs.
A post-mortem examination was conducted on Tuesday, 12 February, and Dennis was found to have several lacerations, as well as a fatal cut to his neck, including one on his face and back and multiple on his left hand where he tried to disarm his attacker.
Detectives sought to track down Riley after the incident. He eventually attended Lewisham Police station with family on Wednesday, 13 February after both his father and brother had been spoken to by police.
Detective Inspector Domenica Catino, from the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command, who has led the investigation, said: “This is a very tragic incident that has left me filled with anguish as Dennis Anderson’s death was totally unavoidable.
“Witnesses of the attack, including close friends of the victim, and CCTV footage showed that Riley had chances to avoid the confrontation and the leave the off-license. The two men did not know each other and Dennis was killed solely because he refused Riley’s request for a cigarette. That is the value that Riley places on life.
“My deepest sympathies extend to Dennis’ family and friends, particularly those that witnessed a shocking event unfold in such a needless manner.”
“I want to thank them for their support throughout this investigation and thank the hard work and commitment of the murder investigation team. I can only also praise the public, officers and paramedics who tried valiantly to keep Dennis alive.”