Champion Ganda trial: Man charged with murder says former friend and co-defendant stabbed teen

Champion Ganda, of Harold Hill, was stabbed to death in Forest Gate.

Champion Ganda, of Harold Hill, was stabbed to death in Forest Gate. - Credit: Archant

A 21-year-old standing trial for murder says the family of a dead teenager “deserve to know the truth”, nearly four years after he was stabbed to death in broad daylight.

Devante Clifford, 21, of Lawrence Street, Canning Town, took to the witness box in the Old Bailey yesterday.

He is one of three men charged with the murder of 17-year-old Champion Ganda.

Champion, of Harold Hill, was stabbed 11 times in Sandringham Road, Forest Gate, and died at the scene on May 9, 2013.

Marvin Simos, of Hanameel Street, Silvertown, and Amani Lynch, of Canterbury Way, Stevenage, are also charged with attempted murder and GBH.

While Clifford admits being one of five males becoming involved in a fight on the day, he denies stabbing the Harold Hill teenager or even knowing Champion would be there before arriving.

The jury heard how the defendant swung a belt in the fight which Clifford claims was in self-defence.

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He said while Champion had him in a headlock, it was co-defendant Lynch who carried out the stabbing.

While under cross examination from defending barrister Michael Holland QC, who is representing Lynch, Clifford denied having any part to play in the tragic death of Champion.

“Champion’s family have been suffering for however long, they deserve to know the truth,” Clifford said.

“I feel for them but I did not kill Champion Ganda, I am sorry but it was your client.

“Why would I blame someone who is innocent?”

Mr Holland suggested Clifford and Lynch had fallen out when they were younger over a girl which the 21-year-old denied by claiming his client “did not get girls”.

Clifford also answered questions about fleeing the country following Champion’s death.

Last summer he became the first person to be extradited from St Lucia to the UK.

Mr Holland queried why it took Clifford almost two years to return to the country, despite his mother telling him police wanted to speak to him.

The defendant told the court how he feared for his own safety should he return.

“It’s not as easy as it seems to come back,” he said.

“I knew it would be comfortable for me over there and easy to settle in and start a new life.”

All three defendants deny murder.

The trial continues.