Stratford Centre stabbing: Two men convicted of Beniamin Pieknyi killing
- Credit: MPS
Two men have today been found guilty of killing Beniamin Pieknyi who was stabbed in the Stratford Centre.
Kevin Duarte, 19, of no fixed abode, and Moses Kasule, 20, of Cavesson House in Ribbons Walk, Stratford, were found guilty of manslaughter and violent disorder at the Old Bailey following a four-week trial.
A further two men, Alexis Gabriel Da Costa Varela, 19, of Lillechurch Road, Dagenham, and Mario Zvavamwe, 19, of Crow Lane, Romford, were found guilty of violent disorder.
Vladyslav Yakymchuk, 23, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to murder, violent disorder and possession of a bladed article on June 13.
Beniamin, 21, from Milton Keynes, was stabbed in the heart during a fight in the Stratford Centre on March 20, while trying to protect his friend. The fight lasted less than four minutes.
The pair had met at about 9pm in Stratford before going into the shopping centre.
The court heard how the men were repeatedly approached by Duarte, Varela, Zvavamwe, and Kasule, who were known to visit the centre to cause trouble.
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Varela, who was riding a bike with Duarte on the handlebars, cycled towards Beniamin and his friend, when Duarte hit his friend on the head, unprovoked.
A fight broke out and a security guard arrived to break it up.
The men moved further down the centre towards the exit by Subway, where the brawl continued. Yakymchuk pulled out a knife and stabbed Beniamin in the chest, before fleeing with the rest of the group. The court heard how the rest of the group shouted “no, leave it, don’t”, when they realised he had the blade earlier on.
Yakymchuk was arrested in Harrods on March 24, having been recognised from a previous shoplifting offence. He was charged the next day with murder.
Varela and Duarte were arrested on suspicion of murder on March 26, when police stopped their car in Seven Kings, while Zvavamwe was arrested the same day at an address in Canning Town.
Kasule was arrested on March 28, and smiled when being told his arrest was on suspicion of murder.
Detective Inspector Ian Titterrell said: “Beniamin and his friend were two entirely innocent friends. They had every right to go about socialising with each other in peace and had done nothing at all to deserve the ire of their aggressors.
“They were attacked by a group hell-bent on causing as much torment and misery as they could that evening, to anyone in particular.
“In Beniamin and his friend they found two people who they thought would be an easy target to sate their urge for violence.
“The group were led Yakymchuk, who was the lead aggressor, and were aware that he was carrying a knife. Yakymchuk it seems would not be satisfied until he was able to use it, which to the terror of the watching members of public, resulted in Beniamin’s untimely and tragic death.
“These convictions will, I’m sure, do little to quell the pain Beniamin’s family have endured. I hope however that they will derive some small comfort from knowing that justice has been done.”
All five men will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on November 7.