Two armed robbers who stabbed a charity youth worker to death in a four-hour spree of violence while roaming the streets on a moped have been found guilty of murder.
Nathan Gilmaney, 18 of Maida Vale, W9 and Troy Thomas, 18 of Sherland Road W9 were convicted at the Old Bailey of murdering 28-year-old Abdul Samad for his iPhone as well as robbing and injuring several others.
Gilmaney had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter, three counts of attempted robbery, six counts of robbery, four counts of wounding with intent and one count of theft.
Thomas admitted theft, three counts of attempted robbery and six counts of robbery. He had denied four counts of wounding with intent but was also found guilty by the jury of those greivous bodily harm offences.
Detective Inspector Shaun Fitzgerald, investigating officer from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “The prosecution said Gilmaney and his friend Thomas were ‘the highwaymen of the 21st century’ and there couldn’t be a more apt description.
“The teenagers believed they had the right to threaten and rob wherever they wanted, often stabbing their victims for no reason at all but to prove they could.
“They armed themselves with knives and drove around on Gilmaney’s moped, with the number plates removed, with the aim of stealing as many wallets, phones and valuables as possible.
“Over the course of just four hours they carried out nine knife-point robberies, stabbed four people and killed Abdul, a charity youth worker and a valued and much-loved member of the community.
“Their behaviour is truly shocking, not least because the fact they had just killed a man and could hear his cries and the paramedics battling to save his life with surgery in the street did nothing to slow down their spree.
“They were caught that same night by police officers who set off in pursuit and bravely tackled them to the ground, knowing them to be armed. I commend their bravery and that of all the victims and witnesses who attended court to help secure these convictions today.”
The court heard that the pair set out late on 16 October 2017, Thomas riding the moped and Gilmaney the pillion passenger, although they swapped over as the evening progressed. At 10.30pm in Shirland Road, Maida Vale, armed with knives they approached their first male victim and demanded he hand over his valuables.
He tried to make off and escape onto a bus but they chased after him, mounted the pavement on the moped and Gilmaney stabbed him in the back, puncturing his right lung.
An hour later they attacked a man who was with his elderly aunt in St Mary’s Terrace, Paddington. They again threatened them at knife-point, stealing jewellery and money. Despite taking everything they could, Gilmaney stabbed the man in the stomach, causing a small wound, before making off.
Moments later they confronted Abdul in St Mary’s Terrace, Paddington. He handed over his phone and they drove off, only to do a u-turn in the street and return when they realised they needed the mobile’s PIN.
Abdul gave them the code and also handed over his wallet. CCTV footage showed him doing exactly as they asked, offering no resistance, but Gilmaney then lunged towards him, stabbing him in the chest. He then shouted “let’s go”, climbed back onto the moped, and it sped away.
Abdul staggered the short distance to his home and collapsed on the doorstep.
His parents heard his cries and came outside to find him.
The London Ambulance Service were called and paramedics performed emergency surgery in the street before racing him to hospital. But despite their best efforts, he died there a short while later from a devastating wound to his heart.
The shocking events did not stop the teenagers who continued their crime spree.
A few minutes later they tried to rob a man in Golborne Road but he managed to escape. They then targeted another man also in Golborne Road, driving the moped along the pavement towards him. They tried to corner their victim – Gilmaney riding the moped in circles and the youth running between parked cars. The victim threw his bag and then his phone at them and ran away.
The pair then returned to Maida Vale shortly after 1am where they sold on Abdul’s iPhone and some foreign currency to a buyer at a block of flats off Harrow Road.
They were seen on CCTV leaving the flats getting ready for their next attack – both pulling on balaclavas to hide their faces.
About 20 minutes later, at 1.30pm they tried to rob a man in Porchester Road. He refused to let go of his phone and Gilmaney stabbed him in the stomach before making off on the moped. The victim later had to undergo surgery at hospital.
Minutes later in Princess Square, they followed a man talking on his phone before Gilmaney stabbed him in the arm without warning.
They moved on to Pembridge Road and, at the junction with Portobello Road, snatched a phone out of a woman’s hand.
Just after 2am, they approached a 16-year-old girl and her friend in Cricklewood Lane, threatening them with the knives. She handed over her bag but it didn’t stop Gilmaney punching her in the face.
Five minutes later on Golders Green Road, the pair attacked their final victim, demanding his wallet and phone at knifepoint. The man handed over his wallet but Gilmaney still stabbed him in the stomach; fortunately the wound was small.
The wave of incidents had been reported to police who arrived and began searching the area.
Reports came in that the suspect moped was in the Edgware Road area and as officers drove along Cricklewood Broadway they spotted it with Thomas riding the vehicle and Gilmaney as the pillion passenger.
A pursuit began and the moped sped away, weaving about. Gilmaney took off his helmet believing officers would abandon the chase; however, given the severity of the offences officers had authorisation to continue the pursuit.
The moped turned into Broomsleigh Street, a dead end, and the suspects leapt off, continuing on foot.
Officers pursued, despite having spotted earlier Gilmaney had a knife. They wrestled him to the ground and arrested him on suspicion of murder and other offences.
Thomas managed to escape but was spotted trying to hide underneath a car by the police helicopter called in to assist the pursuit. He was also arrested on suspicion of murder and other offences.
Both suspects were searched and property from several victims, including Abdul’s bank card, found in their pockets.
They had both discarded their knives; a lock knife thrown by Thomas as he attempted to escape was later found in the back garden of a home in Broomsleigh Street. Gilmaney’s knife was not found.
They were taken into custody where they both gave no comment interviews. Both were charged on 20 October.
Abdul’s mobile phone was later recovered after police traced the man it had been sold to; the phone’s screen had been removed and was found on the ground outside the flats off Harrow Road. The man was arrested for handling stolen goods and later released under investigation.
In part of a victim impact statement Abdul’s mother Layla Begum said:
“The death of my son has absolutely broken my husband, my eldest son, my entire family and me.
“Since his death there has not been a single moment that goes by for me without shedding tears.
“I would do anything to get him back. Sometimes when I am at home I think he will walk in again and that this has all been a bad dream. However, as each minute, each hour and each day goes by I then realise Abdul is not going to come back home. Abdul has been taken from us forever.
“I will never be able to get over losing a son. I feel like Abdul’s death has caused a hole in my heart and a vital organ of my body is missing. I often feel like a dead woman walking around my home.”
In part of a victim impact statement Abdul’s girlfriend Sultana Ahmed said:
“I had known Abdul for 11 years and he had the most amazing personality. He was caring, kind, loving and everyone adored him. I had seen Abdul grow into a beautiful human being who always wanted to help people in whatever capacity he could.
“We had many plans for this year and the last thing Abdul said to me was, ‘watch, this year will be our year and we will be a family’. He also said, ‘I will give my mum and dad the perfect gift in the new year – which is you as a daughter-in-law’.
“Had we both known that this would be our last conversation ever and that he would not call me back as he had promised that night we would have had a longer conversation.
“I felt like I died with Abdul that day. He took a part of me that will never come back.
“Abdul lived for his job of helping children; he was the change we needed to see in the world. The change he brought because he wanted to brighten the future for the youths of this generation. Why would someone hurt him and snatch his life away?
“It still feels like a nightmare to me as I relive everything every single day, sometimes I do not feel like waking up in the morning because I fear reality. Every time I close my eyes I remember his laughter, his infectious smile and I cry because I remember the day I went to the mortuary to see him and how my world shattered.”
Sentencing will take place on 15 June at the Old Bailey