Appeal by teens jailed for Plaistow killing

Two teenagers jailed after a 15 year old was stabbed to death outside a church event have claimed they were wrongly convicted.

Stephen Lewis was stabbed through the heart outside a church hall in Plaistow after a group of youths gatecrashed a “back-to-school” party.

Chris Mazekelua, 18, from Hooper Road, Custom House was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in November 2009 after he was found guilty of the youngster’s murder.

Rissasy Nyimbi, 19, of Vanguard Close, was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for eight years.

But lawyers for the pair went to the Court of Appeal claiming their trial was unfair and the convictions should be quashed.

Stephen was murdered in January 2009, in which a group of youths reportedly surrounded him shouting “shank him”, meaning “stab him”.

Despite many youngsters being present, police reported a “wall of silence” in response to their calls for information.

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After would-be witnesses reported fear of reprisals if they testified, some were granted anonymity in exchange for evidence which helped convict the pair.

But lawyers for Mazekelua told the Court of Appeal there were flaws with the witness evidence and the Old Bailey judge had misdirected the jury.

Nyimbi’s lawyers also complained about witnesses’ testimony, and claimed his conviction for manslaughter was inconsistent with the murder verdict on Mazekelua.

Lord Justice Moses, Mr Justice Keith and Judge Peter Collier QC, reserved judgement on the pair’s appeals, saying they needed to read transcripts of some of the witness evidence before they could come to a view.

The judges’ decision will be given at an unspecified date later this year.