A man who repeatedly stabbed his victim after calling him “a dead man” in a text message has been jailed for life.
Cedric Kiyago, a serving prisoner, was sentenced to life imprisonment – to serve a minimum of 29 years – for murder of Liam Harman in Romford on Friday 4 May 2018 at the Old Bailey.
He was found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey on Monday, 16 April after a seven-week trial.
Liam, who was 28, was found in the communal area of a block of flats in Straight Road, Romford, on Tuesday, 11 July 2017.
The court heard on the day of the murder police had been called at 22:37hrs by the London Ambulance Service, who were responding to reports of a man with multiple stab wounds.
On arrival police found the LAS administering first aid but despite the efforts of paramedics, the man was declared dead at 23:15hrs.
He was later identified as Liam, who was from Harold Hill.
A post-mortem examination at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, revealed that during the attack Liam had been stabbed ten times as well as being cut six times across his face, chest and abdomen.
His death was found to have been caused by two serious wounds to his chest and abdomen.
An immediate investigation was launched by detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command.
Analysis of the victim’s phone showed a message that read “Your (sic) a dead man”, which was sent on the day of his murder. The message was sent from a phone being used as a drugs line. It was later linked to Kiyago and when arrested on 3 August 2017 he had the phone with him.
Both phones were in the area of the murder scene at the time and date of the killing.
The court heard how Liam, a drug user, had been robbing people acting as runners for the local drug dealers. Kiyago was one of those dealers and the attack was believed to be in revenge for these thefts.
Kiyago was charged with the murder on Thursday, 21 September.
Detective Sergeant DS Brett Hagen, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “We believe the motive for the attack was a feud over stolen drugs. What we can be certain of is that the victim was subjected to a vicious and sustained knife assault that caused terrible injuries and had a devastating impact on his family and friends.
“The scene that faced officers and witnesses that night was truly dreadful and I am glad that Cedric Kiyago has been brought to justice.
“Kiyago is a habitual offender who was on prison licence for offences of drug-dealing. He will now spend a very long time on prison and I am sure the streets of London will be a safer place because of it.”
Liam’s family said in a statement: “As a family, we are heartbroken that Liam was taken from us, leaving his two young boys without their daddy. The impact this has had upon us is difficult to describe. Nothing will ever bring Liam back and this has left a permanent hole in the lives of all of us who loved him.
“We would like to thank the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their dedication and hard work in bringing the person responsible to justice.”