Two men have been jailed for their part in the stabbing of a man who will never fully recover from his injuries.
The 21-year-old victim, Douglas Sepouo, who is from Wembley, remains in hospital on a ventilator.
He needs to be fed through a tube and although he is able to open his eyes, he does not interact or communicate.
Keiano Gooden-Joseph, 19 (11.12.00), of Harrow Road, Westminster was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for wounding with intent, and 18 months for possession of a bladed article, to run concurrently.
A 17-year-old from Harrow was jailed for 11 years for the same offences – although he received no separate penalty for the bladed article charge.
Both had been found not guilty of attempted murder at an earlier hearing.
The pair were sentenced by the Central Criminal Court via telephone today, Tuesday 31 March.
The court heard how on Tuesday, 9 July 2019 at about 13:35hrs, Gooden-Josephs arrived at South Kenton station.
He walked along Windermere Grove in the direction of Windermere Avenue and at 13:38hrs he was joined by the 17-year-old defendant.
The pair walked around the area and both eventually ended up in nearby Allonby Gardens.
At 14:37hrs Douglas Sepouo entered Allonby Gardens, but minutes later he had turned back around was looking over his shoulder.
A later review of CCTV showed he was now being followed by the two defendants.
Both defendants were armed with machete type knives and they both followed Douglas Sepouo into Preston Park.
It was here that they carried out a ferocious attack on Mr Sepouo.
It was the afternoon and people were using the park, many of them in the company of their very young children.
Witnesses saw Mr Sepouo running and being chased by two other men.
Those witnesses then saw the two defendants attack Mr Sepouo, as he desperately tried to defend himself.
A witness told police they “hacked” at Mr Sepouo, with one of them stabbing him in the chest with a machete.
A witness said how Mr Sepouo was just shielding himself, screaming and crying out for help.
A member of the public approached the melee and shouted at the men to stop.
Both defendants moved away and then jogged out of the park.
Police and LAS were called to the park.
As officers drove to the scene they saw the 17-year-old running towards them in Carlton Avenue East, which runs parallel to the south side of Preston Park.
The officers stopped him and found he had a cut to his right arm. The injury was not serious and, after he was treated in hospital, he was arrested on suspicion of causing GBH.
Meanwhile other officers and medical staff had attended the park.
Mr Sepouo was in a very serious condition and the medical staff had to open his chest at the scene to restore his heartbeat to normal.
He was taken to a central London hospital in a critical condition, where he was treated for numerous injuries, including defensive wounds to his hands.
However, because of the low blood pressure and cardiac arrest, he had suffered brain injury from which he will never fully recover.
Due to the seriousness of the attack, detectives from the Specialist Crime Command investigated.
Officers conducted a search of the park and one machete was located which had apparently been carried by Mr Sepouo.
Two machete sheaths were found, indicating that at least one further weapon had been removed from the park.
Gooden-Josephs was identified through CCTV inquiries as a suspect and was traced to a taxi travelling in NW7 and arrested on 16 July 2019.
Both males were subsequently charged with attempted murder.
Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson from Specialist Crime North, said: “This appalling attack has left a young man with catastrophic injuries from which he will not ever fully recover. His family have been left devastated and struggling to come to terms with the reality of Douglas’ injuries; I can only hope that the conviction of the persons responsible will help them in some small way. This savage attack occurred in a park being used by young families. Instead of playing on a summer’s day, families had to deal with a man being pursued and repeatedly stabbed. I would like to thank all those members of the public who went to Douglas’ aid and tried to help him.
“We need the support of our communities to tackle violent crime and we urge anyone who may have information about those carrying weapons to tell us about it, so we can tackle violence together and protect the lives of young people.”
For those not comfortable speaking to the police, Crimestoppers is a totally, independent charity. They do not ask your name or trace your call.
If people are worried that a family member or friend might be involved in criminality or vulnerable to people who may be violent, visit KnifeFree or the NSPCC websites for help and advice. You might be able to help them find a way-out.
Note: There is no image of Douglas available.