Killer of Plaistow partygoer in fight to have jail term cut

A teenager, serving life behind bars for the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old boy outside an east London church hall, has failed in a bid to have his minimum term reduced.

Chris Mazekelua reacted with “apparent glee” and a “sense of satisfaction” after killing Stephen Lewis outside a party venue in Plaistow in an apparent gang �attack, his trial was told.

The 18-year-old, of Hooper Road, Custom House, was given at least 17 years at the Old Bailey in November 2009, after being found guilty of murdering the teenager.

He appeared at London’s Criminal Appeal Court last Wednesday in a bid to have his 17-year minimum term reduced.

His lawyers argued it was “too long” in light of his youth and that there was not enough evidence for the crown court judge to �conclude that Mazekelua intended to kill his victim.

The appeal was dismissed by judges, who said the sentence was “not excessive”.

Lord Justice Pitchford, �sitting with Mrs Justice Cox and Mr Justice Cranston, told the court that Stephen was stabbed twice –once in the heart – outside St Cedd’s church hall, in Whitwell Road, in January 2009.

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The incident arose after youths from Custom House, including Mazekelua, tried to get into a community �party being hosted at the centre in Plaistow, on the other side of the A13.

The court heard that �Mazekelua was overheard saying “I have got the thing and I am going to use it”, as he �attempted to gatecrash the hall with his friends.

After Stephen was chased outside and attacked by the group, the killer �reacted with “apparent glee”, saying “I did the murder, I did it, I did the stabbing”, the judge said.

Richard Sutton, QC, for Mazekelua, argued that his minimum term was over the top, saying the crown court judge was wrong to increase it as a “deterrent” to others.

Mr Sutton argued that there was not enough �evidence for the judge to �conclude that Mazekelua had intended to kill his victim when he stabbed him.

Lord Justice Pitchford said the 17-year tariff was “not �excessive” and that there was “adequate” material for the judge to find there was an �intention to kill.

He added: “We consider that, in the case of an adult, the minimum term would have been in the region of 22 to 25 years.

“The question is whether a minimum term of 17 years is manifestly excessive in the case of a youth who was �approaching his 17th birthday at the time of the killing. We cannot find that it is.”