Jaydon McFarlane died after he was stabbed by Osita Alagbaoso in Arlington, near Brockfield Road, shortly before 12.30pm on Saturday 14 March 2020.
Alagbaoso was arrested the same day and was found guilty of murder at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday 28 April 2021 following a trial.
The 18-year-old, formerly of Hoppers Way, Ashford, previously pleaded guilty to wounding with intent in relation to an earlier assault against another victim on Saturday 25 January 2020.
The murder was the result of a rivalry between two gangs in Ashford, whose members had engaged in a series of violent incidents in the weeks before the killing.
A police investigation traced the hostility back to a dispute between the victim and an associate of Alagbaoso called Joseph Matimba, in January 2020. This led to a series of messages being sent between Alagbaoso and the victim.
Alagbaoso then stabbed another man in Ashford’s Memorial Gardens on Saturday 25 January 2020, leaving him with leg injuries.
Ten days later, there was a confrontation in Ashford’s County Square, when members of the rival groups reportedly chased each other with knives.
Further messages were exchanged between the two groups before Alagbaoso fatally stabbed 19-year-old Jaydon McFarlane and chased him along Arlington, where he later died.
After the attack, Alagbaoso and Matimba exchanged clothes in the toilets of a local takeaway, before disposing of the clothes he had been wearing and hiding the knives he used to carry out the attack.
Alagbaoso and Matimba were then both driven to Canterbury by a third man, Hassan Tejan. Kent Police linked Tejan’s car to the offence and he was stopped by armed police on his way back to Ashford and arrested.
Police found fragments of the knife used at the scene of the attack and two knives beneath Victoria Road bridge. Alagbaoso and Matimba were arrested and Alagbaoso’s DNA was found on two of the weapons.
Matimba, who is now 18, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at the start of the trial.
Tejan, 25, of Beaver Green, Ashford, was convicted of perverting the course of justice on Wednesday 28 April 2021.
The three men will be sentenced at a later date.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss, senior investigating officer for the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘This case shows how gang associations and messages on social media can so tragically turn to acts of serious violence and murder.
‘The death of the victim in this case is a tragedy which will have an everlasting impact on his family and friends.
‘The meticulous investigation carried out by officers following the incident led to the quick arrest of those involved and the detailed evidence gathered by investigators has led to the guilty pleas and guilty verdicts.
‘I would like to thank the victim’s family for their support and witnesses who came forward to give evidence at this trial.’