A teenager who fatally stabbed an 18-year-old at a knife awareness course in Hillingdon has been convicted of murder.
Vladimir Nachev, 18 of West End Lane, Hayes, was convicted by a jury after a three-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
He was also found guilty of wounding with intent against another teenager during the same incident. Nachev will be sentenced on 7 September.
The court heard that police were called to the youth offending service in Hillingdon Civic Centre on 7 November last year after 18-year-old Hakim Sillah was stabbed.
Hakim, who was stabbed twice in the chest, was given emergency treatment at the scene by paramedics but died in hospital later that day.
Nachev left the scene immediately after the attack and hid the 25cm long ‘Rambo’ style knife in woodland near his home address.
He was arrested shortly afterwards and taken into custody.
Nachev claimed he had attacked Hakim in self-defence and had intended to stab him in his arm rather than the chest.
However, the court heard that Nachev had attacked Hakim previously with a knife and had sent him abusive messages.
In May, Hakim told his family that he had been punched by Nachev after they got into a fight over a girl he had accused Hakim of seeing.
On 2 September 2019, Nachev sent a video from his phone which showed him threatening Hakim with a knife.
Two weeks later, Hakim was attacked in a subway in Harlington. He was stabbed in the arm and suffered an injury that required surgery.
Hakim told police that he was attacked from behind and could not provide a description of the suspect.
Analysis of Nachev’s mobile phone by homicide detectives revealed he had sent a message to a friend, shortly after Hakim was fatally stabbed, implying he had been the one who carried out the previous attack.
Nachev wrote: “I’m going jail”, “I cheffed (stabbed) up hakz again inside yot”
Detectives also uncovered evidence Nachev had planned the attack with searches on the internet with a focus on killings, specifically stabbings and those done by young people, prisons, and knives.
Between 10 October 2019 and 31 October 2019, there were searches on the defendant’s phone under, ‘fatal stabbings’, ‘teen killers’, ‘moments teen killers chase rival stab death’ and ‘gbh section 18’, ‘quadruple stabbing’, ‘bail for murder’, ‘teenager sentenced for stabbing’, as well as searches for prisons and Metropolitan Police sites, including the one that covers Hayes Town Centre.
From 3 to 4 November 2019, there were multiple searches on the phone for knives, hunting knives, zombie knives, swords, and samurai and knife boxes.
Nachev, who had been released from custody five months earlier after serving a sentence for possession of a knife and supply of class A drugs, was charged with murder on 8 November and has been remanded in custody until his trial.
Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said:
“This case demonstrates the challenges the police and probation services have in deterring young people away from knife crime. Despite this being a ‘Knife Crime Awareness’ course, both Nachev and Hakim turned up with a concealed weapon.
“The search history on Nachev’s mobile phone, shortly before the fatal stabbing, demonstrates that he was a highly dangerous individual, who was intent on carrying out a violent attack. Hakim’s death is another tragic example of a young life lost at the hands of another young man, over a seemingly trivial matter.
“It cannot be stressed enough that carrying knives and inflicting harm does not keep you safe. Whenever someone is stabbed it is down to chance whether the victim will suffer minor or life-threatening injuries. Nachev, and other young men like him who think it is acceptable to carry large knives on the streets of London, need to realise their actions have serious consequences. Nachev will now be in prison for a long time and Hakim’s family have been given a life sentence of mourning his loss.
I am extremely grateful for all the witnesses who gave evidence during this trial, particularly the members of staff at the civic centre who battled to save Hakim’s life.”
A statement from Hakim Sillah’s mother Saranba Sillah and the rest of his family read: “Hakim was stolen from us in an unprovoked, brutal, malicious and cowardly attack. The murder of Hakim has torn apart the very fabric of our family. In addition, this senseless attack on Hakim is a painful reminder of the knife-crime epidemic that continues to ravage our society and bring untold sadness and suffering to many families. This a reminder that the betterment of a society is not a duty to be left to some, but a responsibility to be shared by all.
“Hakim is my son, my friend, and confidant. I will forever continue to live his legacy”.