A teenage girl who organised the killing of a 15-year-old schoolboy at Victoria Station on Facebook and kicked him as he lay bleeding to death was jailed for 12 years today.
Victoria Osoteku had just turned 18 when she joined a 20-strong mob armed with an array of weapons as they hunted down Sofyen Belamouadden, 15, in front of hundreds of horrified rush hour commuters at the busy London train station.
The teenager helped to set up the attack on the social networking site Facebook and then bought a £3.99 knife set from Argos, which was used to stab Sofyen at least nine times.
Osoteku was then seen kicking the victim as he lay helpless on he ground with stab wounds to his heart and right lung.
The Old Bailey heard Osteku claimed she just ‘nudged’ him with her foot ‘to see if he was okay’.
But Osoteku, now aged 20, was convicted of manslaughter after giving evidence for 21 days – the longest testimony at the Old Bailey in recent years – in a four month trial.
She was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charge of murder.
Sentencing her to 12 years in a young offenders’ institution, Judge Christopher Moss QC told her: ‘You played a pivotal role in the events of and leading up to that day and must take a substantial share of the responsibility for that.’
Osoteku is the 13 teenager to be sentenced for her part in the killing. Her jail term brings the total sentences handed down to 124 years.
Three other teenagers – Samson Odegbune and Christopher Omoregie, both 18, along with Obi Nwokeh, 19 – were convicted of murder during a series of trials last year and jailed for 18 years each last week.
Pastor’s son Femi Oderinwale, 18, along with Adonis Akra, also 18, and Samuel Roberts, 19, were each given 12 years after they were convicted of manslaughter.
And Enoch Amoah, 19, and Tyrone Richards, 17, were locked up for seven years after they were found guilty of violent disorder.
Lewis Sinclar, Olawale Olaribigbe and Melvin Mensah, all 18, along with Selassie Ahiaku, 19, all got two years after they pleaded guilty to violent disorder before their trial got underway last September.
The attack was the result of ‘simmering tensions’ between students at a sixth form college in Ladbroke Grove, west London, and Sofyen’s fellow pupils at Henry Compton School, in Fulham.
On March 24, 2010, the two groups were seen arguing at Victoria Station and one youth was left with a bloody nose.
Determined to get revenge, the Ladbrooke Grove group used the social networking site Facebook to recruit ‘troops and weapons’.
Osoteku, who was taken into care at the age of eight, was at the centre of the conversations and agreed to buy a box set of kitchen knives from Argos.
The next day, March 25, they arrived at Victoria on two buses at around 5.14pm armed with a samurai sword, knives, sharpening steels, and metal bars to confront the rival group.
Witnesses saw ‘knives glinting in the air’ as they chased Sofyen through Terminus place and down into the underground.
Sofyen was pushed or fell down the steps in to the ticket hall where he was set upon by several youths as he lay defenceless on the floor.
Sofyen was kicked, punched, beaten and stabbed repeatedly in front of dozens of commuters including a priest and his blood was found on at least three knives and a sharpening steel.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC described Sofyen’s murder as ‘brutal and merciless’.
He told the court: ‘Such was their arrogance they carried out that kind of attack in the heart of the capital in a public place.
‘That confidence and arrogance came no doubt from the security of acting together as a group in sufficient numbers and with a common purpose.
‘It came too from the security of knowing that between them they were so heavily armed as a group that no one individual, small group, police officer or member of station staff could withstand them or stop them or detain them in the course of what they were doing.
‘It explains why they did something so truly terrible that many will not, even now, acknowledge that they had any real part to play in it at all.
‘It explains why for a trivial slight, they executed a truly terrible revenge.’
Osoteku was the last of the attacking group to leave the scene and the prosecution claimed that she had ‘very great’ responsibility for Sofyen’s death.
Mr Heywood said: ‘Victoria Osoteku was one of those who set up and organised the confrontation that led to the death.’
Osoteku admitted she was at the scene of the attack but denied being involved.
She told the jury she was just following her friends and was shocked to see Sofyen being stabbed.
‘I just froze there,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I know it was 17 seconds but it didn’t seem that short at the time. It seemed to go on for a longer time.’
She denied kicking Sofyen as he lay fatally wounded and claimed she had just ‘nudged’ him with her foot.
‘I don’t know why I did it, but I just wanted to know if he was OK,’ she added.
William Boyce QC, defending, urged Judge Moss to distinguish Osoteku’s case from those of the other teens convicted of manslaughter.
‘These are 24 hours that will always haunt her,’ he said. ‘She is not just going to move on. They will always be in her mind.’
Osoteku, of Mereton Mansions, Brookmill Road, New Cross, south London, denied murder, conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and violent disorder.