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Man jailed for murder in Westfield Shopping Centre

19:06 07 April 2014

Murder victim Liam Woodards

Murder victim Liam Woodards

Archant

A man was jailed for life today for the fatal stabbing of a Stratford man at Westfield Shopping Centre in what became known as the “yoghurt pot “murder.

Trainee chef, Liam Woodards ,24, was stabbed to death by Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith in front of shoppers after a brawl between rival groups in June 2012 which escalated after an exchange of words when one of Woodwards’ group hurled a glass and a yoghurt pot at the opposing group.

As Woodwards lay dying the altercation moved down to Stratford station where revenge was sought and two men from the opposing group were stabbed by Woodwards’ associates.

At the Old Bailey Kojo Smith from Hackney Wick received a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years.

Tony Caton,21, of Paul Street, Stratford was sentenced to three years imprisonment for two counts of violent disorder, while Anselm Legemah of Elkington Road, Plaistow, was convicted of one count of violent disorder and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

All three had denied the charges.

Five others were cleared of violent disorder.

Five more had previously pleaded guilty to related offences, mainly violent disorder, at the Old Bailey in August last year.

That trial and the latest hearing followed a re-trial after the previous trial last July collapsed after nearly three months due to what was described as an “irretrievable breakdown” among the jurors.

Speaking after today’s senetencing Detective Inspector John Nicholson of the Homicide and Sserious Crime Command said: “This was a shocking attack in the middle of Westfield in front of horrified shoppers.

“Individuals who choose to carry knives can expect to be targeted by the MPS. We continue to effectively tackle knife crime through proactive policing, working with partners to prevent offending and build safer communities.”

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