James Rochester, 43 of Bromley High Street, E3 and Christian Fearon, 30of no fixed address were found guilty on Friday, 6 November of the murder of Lennox Alcendor following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Rochester was jailed for life with a minimum term of 28 years for the murder, to run concurrently with a four-year sentence for robbery and ten months’ imprisonment for possession of an offensive weapon.
The court heard how Lennox had travelled with a friend to Cricklewood with the purpose of purchasing two bottles of rum from the defendants. They went into the flat of a mutual friend where negotiations over the sale took place. During these discussions, an argument broke out and Lennox and his friend left the property in possession of the alcohol. Lennox had refused to pay, claiming that Rochester was in his debt because his ex-girlfriend owed him money.
Rochester and Fearon followed them and on approaching the pair, Rochester pulled an 11-inch plasterboard saw from his waistband and stabbed Lennox in the throat. He and Fearon then proceeded to punch and kick Lennox as he lay dying while the friend tried to fend them off. They then stole his watch and reclaimed one of the bottles of rum – the second had been smashed during the incident – before casually walking away.
The pair were identified following extensive CCTV enquiries and both were arrested on 25 February. When apprehended, Fearon said words to the effect of: “This thing you’re trying to put on me, this murder, there was someone else involved but I didn’t do nothing.”
In a victim impact statement read in court, Lennox’s mum, said:
“As a child, Lennox was always caring and would do anything for you. I know it sounds cliché but he had a smile that could light up any room. On the 20th Feb 2020, when Lennox said to me ‘mum I will see you later’ I never expected the next day I would be told that he was murdered and my world turned upside down. I remember thinking why? Who would want to kill my son?
“No longer will I hear him say ‘mum what’s for breakfast’ that was our joke, because he knew I wasn’t making any. I sometimes think I hear him occasionally but then I realise he is no longer here. I sometimes call out his name only to be reminded that he has gone and will not return.”
Lennox’s daughter said:
“I think it goes without saying that this has impacted me for the rest of my life. When I heard of the news that Friday morning, the half term break I was enjoying, quickly shifted upside down. I developed anxiety and PTSD, which I suffer with every single day. Simple interactions such as saying good morning or answering a ‘how are you’, ‘how was your weekend’ now take so much effort, because it’s not a good morning, I am not okay and my weekend was mostly spent lying in bed drowning myself in tv programs to distract myself from reality. I am now afraid of the dark. I lock my car doors the moment both feet are inside of the car. I steer clear of human interaction.
“Not one day has passed where I don’t think of my dad. Remembering his smile, his silly jokes, the way he would burst into song or dance, his obsession with corned beef, even his obsession with taking pictures with me every time he saw me. Everyone would always roll their eyes when he would hold his phone out because we all knew what was coming: “take a picture of us please” he’d say with his cheesy grin. Those pictures are all we have left now.”
Detective Inspector Tom Williams said:
“Lennox was killed in a residential street as many people were waking up and starting their day. We may never know exactly what happened but it seems it boiled down to a row over the sale of two bottles of rum. This seemingly minor issue culminated in a vicious and sustained attack on a man who was unable to defend himself. The defendants then callously stole the watch from their victim’s wrist.
“At court Rochester claimed he acted only in self-defence. Fearon said he was unaware that Rochester had a knife and lied about being involved in the attack. These are two dangerous and violent individuals. I’m pleased the jury were able to see through their deceit and both have been jailed for a significant amount of time.”