Teenager jailed for murder of Promise Nkenda in Canning Town following re-trial

Shemar Dawes was jailed for killing Promise Nkenda following a retrial. Picture: Met Police

Shemar Dawes was jailed for killing Promise Nkenda following a retrial. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A teenager who claimed he had been wrongly accused of a brutal murder has been jailed for 18 years following a re-trial.

Promise Nkenda. Picture: Met Police

Promise Nkenda. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Shemar Dawes, 19, of no fixed abode, was found guilty on Friday, March 13 by a unanimous jury again for taking part in the 2018 killing of 17-year-old Lord Promise Nkenda, known as Promise, in Canning Town.

A court heard how Dawes, along with four other teenagers, stole a BMW and used it as a battering ram when they drove it at Promise.

The teenager, from Newham, desperately scrambled away from the car and ran for his life down Butchers Road in the direction of Goldwing Close.

He was pursued by four of the five occupants from the car and was stabbed 15 times in the head, back and chest by the culprits who wore white latex gloves during the attack - reaffirming it was both premeditated and calculated.

In the first trial Dawes, along with four others, denied murder but were all found guilty on December 21, 2018. Dawes was jailed for 18 years and began his sentence immediately.

An appeal against his conviction was launched and his re-trial began on February 10 at the Central Criminal Court.

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Police launched a murder investigation after they were called by the London Ambulance Service shortly after 8pm on February 14, 2018 to reports of a boy suffering stab from injuries in Goldwing Close.

Officers attended and found Promise, who was pronounced dead at the scene at 8.38pm.

A post-mortem examination the following day gave the cause of death as stab wounds to the chest.

Officers then began a meticulous investigation which included spending hours reviewing CCTV images of the defendants along with retrieving and analysing DNA evidence.

Incriminating evidence was found in the boot of the car by investigators.

A knife and a glove were later discovered behind a nearby telephone junction box in the crime scene and were forensically linked to the attack.

Despite Dawes' protestations that he was innocent and police had got the wrong man, a unanimous jury found him guilty and he was handed the same sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years. As Dawes has currently served 624 days, he will not be eligible to apply for parole for 16 years and 106 days.

In a victim impact statement, the family said: 'Promise was the youngest of our family and everyone always sought to protect him, however, on the night that he died, we could not be there to protect him. Promise died in a sustained and frenzied knife attack, he died alone and cold in the middle of street. We never have got to say goodbye to him, we never got to tell him how much we loved and cared for him.

'We've sat and watched the CCTV played again and again of how the car tried to run him over and felt the slight joy of seeing him survive that and run off just to be chased down, out-numbered four on one like a pack of animals and attacked.

'An example should be made of anyone that carries a knife and anyone who hangs around with those that do to make it clear this is not the way to live, this is not what being a man is about.

'May God have mercy on their souls as they one day realise what they have done.'

Det Insp Perry Benton said: 'This was a complicated case and officers had to meticulously piece together the evidence to make sure the perpetrators were brought to justice. All of the officers involved have played a vital role in tracking down those who have committed this wicked crime.

'This was a frenzied attack on a young man and I cannot begin to imagine the pain this has caused Promise's family. Their strength and dignity throughout this whole investigation is nothing short of impressive and I hope that they now have a tiny bit of comfort knowing Promise's murderers will remain behind bars. While this sentence sadly won't bring their son and brother back, it will make our streets safer, and for that I am grateful.'