Rapper J Hus is jailed for carrying a knife outside Westfield Stratford City
- Credit: Archant
Award-winning rapper J Hus has been jailed for eight months for having a knife outside Westfield Stratford City.
The music star, who grew up in Stratford, appearing in court under his real name Momodou Jallow, apologised and said he regretted his “foolish actions” at carrying the 10cm blade in June this year.
The 23-year-old, who won best song at the Mobo awards last year, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court today.
J Hus, who the court heard has six convictions for 10 offences, had initially pleaded not guilty to possession of a blade in a public place but changed his plea at a further hearing in October.
Her Honour Judge Sheelagh Canavan told him: “You are a role model to many, yet you have failed to leave your past behind you.”
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She added: “This, in such a young life, is the fourth occasion when you have gone out armed in public with a knife.”
In a letter read to the court by his barrister Henry Blaxland QC the rapper said: “My decision to carry a weapon was careless, ill-advised and utterly stupid.
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“Being a public figure that many look up to, I simply should have known better.”
He said he had not been in his “right state of mind” and spoke of the effect the stabbing of a close friend days earlier had had on him.
He added: “I am in no way trying to justify my actions as they are unjustifiable.
“I am deeply sorry, I regret my foolish actions.”
The court heard J Hus had been sitting in his Audi with a female at the wheel and another passenger outside Westfield in Stratford at 12.35pm on June 21 when they were stopped by police.
Prosecutor Helen Owen said there was a smell of cannabis from the vehicle and when asked by an officer if he had anything on him, the star said he had a knife in his pocket.
Asked during the incident why he was carrying what was described in court as a folding knife, he replied: “You know, it’s Westfield.”
The court heard J Hus’s friend had been knifed and paralysed just days earlier and that the rapper, who was himself stabbed in 2015, had fears he would be the victim of another attack.
Judge Canavan said that while she accepted J Hus had been shopping and had not been trying to provoke a response to the attack on his friend by returning to the area, he must have been aware of the risks.
She said: “The dangers of knives in public places are obvious to us all. Sadly, rarely a week goes by without one or more reports of young men harming, and sometimes killing each other with knives.
“You, better than just about anyone, know the dangers of knives being wielded by young men in public places.”
Mr Blaxland said going back to the area with a knife had been a “profoundly stupid” thing to do, but it had not been deliberately provocative.
He said his client’s fame had left him feeling “relatively isolated”, adding: “It may be for that reason he found himself drawn back to the Newham area (where he grew up) like a moth to a flame.”
Mr Blaxland said J Hus had also suffered mild post-traumatic stress disorder following the attack in which he was injured three years ago.
The rapper’s first conviction, the court was told, was in 2011 when, aged 16, he produced a knife from his shoe in a dispute over a bicycle sale.
A year later he pleaded guilty to violent disorder after two groups of young people clashed at Westfield, and in 2016 he was convicted of offences including affray and possession of an offensive weapon, having been seen chasing someone with a machete and, on another occasion, caught with a large combat knife.
J Hus, who now lives in Peterborough, was also ordered to pay a £140 surcharge.
Detective Constable Faye Robins, from Newham’s gangs and firearms unit, said: “Jallow is a young rapper that many young teenagers look up to, and he clearly had no common sense when he decided to carry a knife with him.
“Sadly, London has seen too many young males being stabbed to death or being sent to jail for plotting the death of others, and Jallow could have used his platform to turn lives away from crime; instead he has advocated it.
“The gangs and firearms unit in Newham are pleased that he has finally pleaded guilty to this offence and hope that this result will deter other young men from carrying knives.”
The court also made a criminal behaviour order banning him from entering or travelling through the Newham borough for the next three years and from associating with a number of named individuals.