Two members of a gang who wore ghoulish masks to carry out a murder in south London on Halloween have been jailed.
Scotty Kouebitra, 22, was chased down and fatally stabbed in Croydon after he and his friends were attacked in Gloucester Road just after 8pm on October 31, 2016.
Jahliel Rose, a 21-year-old from Thornton Heath, and Jack Harvey, a 17-year-old from Wallington, have both received lengthy prison sentences at the Old Bailey, having been found guilty earlier this month at the end of a four-week trial.
Rose was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for murder and a further 21 years for wounding with intent, to run concurrently. Harvey was given 19 years for murder, as well as 15 years for wounding with intent. Again the sentences will run concurrently.
The court heard that Kouebitra had been in a park with friends who were celebrating Halloween and setting off fireworks.
At around 8pm two cars arrived near the park, the males inside were armed with weapons and had their faces covered. The group entered the park and a fight broke out between the two groups.
A witness saw Kouebitra being attacked by at least two males, and could see that the attackers were armed with baseball bats and a pole. Witnesses also described how some of the attackers were wearing Halloween masks.
Two of Kouebitra’s friends went to try and help him but they were confronted by several of the armed group and injured.
As they fled from the park they were joined by Kouebitra, but he suddenly fell to the ground and started to have a seizure.
Police and London’s Air Ambulance attended but despite efforts to revive him, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination carried out on 2 November 2016 revealed that Kouebitra had several defensive wound to his arms, which police suggest were probably caused as he tried to fend off his attackers.
However the fatal wound was to Kouebitra’s chest, which had been inflicted with considerable force and pierced the aorta.
An investigation was led by detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command (HMCC). It is believed that the target for the attack had been a group who had previously been in the park but had left a short while earlier.
CCTV evidence showed the assailants in two cars carrying out a reconnaissance of the park while the group they had intended to attack were inside.
The two cars then left and other CCTV footage captured them preparing for their deadly assault.
Harvey was arrested on November 8, 2016 at his home address. Whilst in custody his home was searched and a camouflaged snood was found in his bedroom. On examination, staining could be seen on the snood which tested positive for the presence of blood. It was found that the blood matched that of the victim.
Rose was arrested on November 16, 2016 and was linked to the crime by CCTV and phone enquiries. They were both subsequently charged with murder.
Two other men who went on trial for the same offences were found not guilty of all counts.