Five thugs jailed for gang brawl after Westfield Stratford killing

Liam Woodards, 24, died at Westfield Stratford City after he was stabbed in the chest.

Liam Woodards, 24, died at Westfield Stratford City after he was stabbed in the chest. - Credit: central news

Five thugs who took part in a gang brawl that saw a man knifed to death at Westfield Stratford City were jailed for a total of nearly ten years yesterday.

The fatal clash at Westfield Stratford City in east London was sparked when Danny Caton, 24, from Stratford launched a yoghurt pot at rivals.

In the chaos that followed, his friend Liam Woodards, also 24, was stabbed in the chest in front of terrified shoppers on June 29 last year.

Caton, along with Michael Ndefo, 22, and Rhys Regisford, 21, then hunted down associates of Mr Woodards’ killer.

They clashed with Michael Alvaranga, 24, and Javin Rigabie, 23, at nearby Stratford Tube station.

The two opposing factions were from rival gangs and had been locked in a bitter turf war over the newly-opened Westfield centre.

Caton, of Paul Street, Stratford, Ndefo of Raymond Road, Plaistow, and Regisford, of Hyde Close, Plaistow, along with rivals Riaz Anderson, 19, of Essex Close, Walthamstow, and Tristan Mullings, 21, of Iseldon Road, Holloway all admitted violent disorder.

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Anderson and Mullings were each jailed for 20 months at the Old Bailey, while Ndefo received 28 months.

Caton, who was also dealt with for a breach of an earlier suspended sentence, received 34 months.

Regisford, who was only involved in the Tube station clash, got 16 months.

Judge Stephen Kramer QC said ‘This incident in Westfield took some two-and-a-half minutes but it appeared to last a long time to those unwittingly caught up in it.

‘Those who engage in this type of mindless, needless and potentially dangerous violence in public must expect to receive custodial sentences.’

The two gangs met up on June 29 last year while Mr Woodards was celebrating his birthday.

Nii Azu Kojo-Smith, 18, of Castle Close, Hackney Wick, was tried for the murder but jurors were unable to reach a verdict and he faces a retrial later this year.

Alvaranga, of Cookes Close, Leytonstone, Rigabie, of Chobham Road, Stratford, and five others are facing a retrial for violent disorder alongside Kojo-Smith.