A man who stabbed another man in the neck following a dispute over the return of his driving licence has been convicted of manslaughter.
Jason De Sousa, 21 (14.11.95), of no fixed address was found guilty of the manslaughter of 21-year-old Joseph Olopo from Colindale at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 8 August. He was found not guilty of murder.
The Old Bailey heard how police were called on Friday, 17 February at approximately 19:15hrs to Heathfield Gardens, Golders Green following reports of a number of males fighting.
Officers attended and found Joseph with a stab wound. He was taken by the London Ambulance Service to St Mary's Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
A post-mortem examination held on Sunday, 19 February gave cause of death as a stab wound to the neck.
De Sousa was arrested on Wednesday, 22 February. He was interviewed later the same day and initially declined to answer questions as to how Joseph died, later claiming he had acted in self-defence.
The court heard that on the evening of Joseph's death, he and two other men had arranged to meet with De Sousa, as they had in their possession documents belonging to each other.
De Sousa in particular was keen to have his driving licence returned to him. In the days before this meeting, De Sousa had made veiled threats of violence against others and had given them an ultimatum to return his licence.
De Sousa had turned up to the meeting that evening already armed with a knife. A fight took place between De Sousa, Joseph and the two other men who were all armed with weapons. The fight led to Joseph being stabbed in the neck by De Sousa who then ran from the scene. He was eventually arrested five days later in a hotel where he had spent the night using a false name.
He was charged on Thursday, 23 February with murder.
A 17-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of affray was later released with no further action being taken against him.
Detective Inspector Shaun Fitzgerald, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command led the investigation. He said:
"This was a violent attack on a man with his whole life ahead of him. The dispute was over documents each person had in their possession and for that small reason, Joseph lost his life.
"I hope today's verdict will go some small way to helping Joseph's family to move on from this tragic incident."