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14th Jun 2018

How a WhatsApp group chat ended in murder: Man sentenced to 21 years for killing autistic teen

Paul Akinnuoye has been sentenced to 21 years in prison after a WhatsApp argument ended in a fatal stabbing

Oli Dugmore

Paul Akinnuoye has been sentenced to 21 years in prison after a WhatsApp argument ended in a fatal stabbing

A man has been sentenced to 21 years at the Old Bailey for fatally stabbing a teenager in south London in 2017.

20-year-old Paul Akinnuoye murdered a teenager after the pair got into an argument in a WhatsApp chat called “Ice city boyz.”

Jordan Wright, 19, was due to start an apprenticeship in the construction industry when he was attacked. He died after being stabbed in the chest.

They traded insults over who was the “least gay.” Jordan said to Akinnuoye “you are on his dick” and called him a “batty boy.” The killer replied “On your mum’s life I’m straighter than you.”

Police were called at 8.10pm on April 19 2017 to reports of a stabbing on Hervey Road in Blackheath.

Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended and found Jordan badly wounded. He later died in hospital.

Although they were not friends, in the hours leading up to the assault, Jordan and Akinnuoye had both been part of a group chat on WhatsApp which developed into an argument between the two, escalating to the point that they made arrangements to meet for a pre-arranged fight to settle their differences.

CCTV footage prior to the incident captured the two meeting up and showed Akkinuoye being physically held back from Jordan following an exchange of words.

The group entered the park where a fight ensued, during which Jordan was fatally stabbed in the chest. Helped out of the park, the teenager collapsed at its entrance after saying, “I feel unwell.”

Local residents came to his assistance, administering first aid until the arrival of the paramedics who took him to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he died at 9.24pm.

A special post-mortem held at Greenwich Mortuary the following day gave cause of death as an incised wound to the chest. Other stab injuries were also found on his body.

Inquiries established that it was Akinnuoye who had been involved in the disagreement with Jordan and he was arrested on April 26 2017. Offering a “no comment” interview, he was released under police investigation.

The murder weapon was recovered from shrubbery within the park. Inquiries identified that the same knife had gone missing from the home address of Akinnuoye and on September 1 2017 he was re-arrested and charged with Jordan’s murder.

Detective Inspector Jo Sideaway, of the homicide and major crime command, said: “This murder left Jordan’s family devastated and was a big shock to the local community; seemingly over a minor dispute between two young men. While nothing will ever make up for this needless loss of life, I hope that today’s sentencing will bring some closure for his loved ones.”

In a victim impact statement submitted to the court, Jordan’s mother, Katharine Alade, revealed that the trauma caused by her son’s death had left her feeling so distressed that she had contemplated suicide.

She said: “You don’t realise until it happens to you how far reaching one moment of madness can be and what an impact it can make on your life forever. There is not one day when I don’t shed tears.

“I didn’t think it was possible to feel such physical, psychological or mental pain until that fateful day last April. I know I will never be the same. It is now nearly a year later and I still feel as depressed as I did the day I went to Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in Woolwich to be told that my son did not make it.”

She said that it was only when it came to his funeral she knew how much Jordan had been loved – there were over 600 mourners and prior to that they had had 300 people at his memorial nine days after his untimely death.

“I could have dealt with him dying at such a young age through illness, but not by the hands of a boy the same age as him, and over what?” she asked.

Ms Alade also recalled how Jordan had been a “gift” born to her relatively late in life when she had not planned more children – and despite enduring challenges from having autism, he had wanted for nothing and was happy and loving. The condition did contribute however, she believed, towards his “innocent” outlook to life, meaning that he did not fully take on board the dangers on the streets such as knife crime, gangs and violence.

Jordan’s father, Neville Wright, also talked of how his son’s unfulfilled potential haunted him on a daily basis. “Jordan was my son, his death has changed my life forever. He was very loving, funny and a very caring person, as well as a very popular person. I think of him every day..of what he would have achieved in life – he is gone, but not forgotten.”

Three other men who were arrested on suspicion of murder on 4 May 2017 and released under investigation, were all subsequently released with no further action.