Three people have been convicted in relation to the fatal stabbing of Mark Fontaine in Kensington and Chelsea in May 2018.
A 15-year-old boy from Putney was found guilty on Tuesday, 19 March, of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob, following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Adesina Fashina, 18 (27.09.00) of Hendon Lane, N3, was convicted of conspiracy to rob; he was acquitted of robbery and murder.
Christian Murphy, 18 (22.11.00) of Avonmore Road, W14, was convicted of conspiracy to rob; he was acquitted of murder.
All three will be sentenced at the same court on a date to be confirmed.
The court heard how Fashina had contacted the victim, 41-year-old Mark Fontaine on 27 May 2018 to buy cannabis from him.
Mark agreed to meet Fashina at a location in Finchley and drove there with a friend. On their arrival, Fashina got into the car and then after a short discussion he and Mark exited and began to walk towards an address Fashina said he lived at nearby to weigh the drugs.
Later that evening an argument occurred when it was discovered that Fashina had left his phone on the passenger seat. Shortly afterwards Fashina rang the phone and Mark answered; Fashina asked for the phone to be returned but Mark refused. Several more calls were made to Mark that evening, including one threatening his welfare, but Mark still refused to return the phone. This set the chain of events in motion that would lead to Mark’s murder three days later.
On 30 May Mark received a call from an unknown male enquiring about buying cannabis. After arranging a price and a venue for the transaction, Mark drove to Finborough Road, SW10 to meet the buyer shortly before 22:00hrs.
However, Mark was completely unaware that the call had been set up by Fashina who, along with Murphy and the 15-year-old male, were lying in wait for him.
As Mark sat in his car in Finborough Road, he was attacked by the 15-year-old male, sustaining seven separate stab injuries in the process.
Mark managed to stagger from his car but collapsed a short distance away in Cathcart Road, SW10.
Police and London Ambulance Service were called but Mark could not be saved - he died in the street at approximately 23:00hrs.
Following the attack the three assailants fled the scene.
The 15-year-old male had sustained a stab injury to his right arm during the attack and a blood trail from the scene towards Tregunter Road forensically linked him to the scene.
He subsequently attended hospital for treatment to his injury; police were called and he was arrested.
Detectives began to investigate the background to Mark’s murder and the story about the failed robbery and the phone being left in Mark’s car came to light.
Analysis of Mark’s phone established the contact between him and Fashina on 27 May - including Fashina’s subsequent attempts using a different number to convince Mark to return his phone.
This subsequent phone attributed to Fashina was also in use on 30 May - the day of the murder.
Further analysis confirmed that on that day, Fashina, Murphy and the 15-year-old boy were all together in the area of Finborough Road, SW10 at the time of Mark’s murder.
Witnesses and CCTV analysis also placed two males, fitting the description of Fashina and Murphy, leaving the scene following the attack.
Murphy is also known to have made calls to two mini-cab firms to try and book a cab from West Brompton to the Putney area - phone analysis links both Murphy and Fashina to travelling in a cab from the scene to southwest London.
Both Fashina and Murphy were subsequently arrested and charged in May 2018.
Detective Inspector James Howarth of the Homicide and Major Crime Command said:
“The nature of this calculated, pre-meditated attack is truly shocking and vastly out of proportion to the relatively trivial event that sparked it.
“Fashina involved Murphy and a teenage associate to lure Mark to the location with the sole intention of robbing him that resulted in Mark receiving his fatal injuries.
“Mark could not survive the attack and the three fled the scene leaving a man to die in the street.
“I would like these convictions to bring some form of closure to the family who have supported the police throughout this investigation.
“Also the valiant efforts that members of the public made to help Mark following the attack should not be forgotten. Their efforts will always be appreciated and though the impact on them has been traumatic, I hope these convictions go some way to assuage that."