A teenager has been found guilty of stabbing an Afghan refugee to death just hours after he received a non-custodial sentence for possessing a Rambo knife.
The 17-year-old killer attacked Hazrat Wali on playing fields in Twickenham in front of horrified school children.
The promising cricketer, from Notting Hill, in west London died of a massive blood loss an hour after the stabbing on 12 October 2021.
The defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, then went to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant with his friends where he assaulted an employee.
Jurors were told the defendant, who was enrolled on a college course, was caught with a black knife at Southside shopping centre in Wandsworth two months before the killing on August 5, 2021.
He pleaded guilty to that offence and was given a youth rehabilitation order at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on the morning of October 12.
Later that afternoon, Mr Wali was sitting in the park with a female friend when he was approached by the defendant and a group of other teenagers.
The court heard that after a short exchange the defendant challenged Mr Wali, before producing a 20cm long black knife with zigzag-shaped indentations on the blade and stabbing him on the right side of the chest.
On Tuesday at the Old Bailey, the teenager was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter by a majority to 10-2 after he claimed he had acted in self defence.
Children who had been playing in a rugby match between Richmond School and Hampton School witnessed the stabbing and staff gave first aid.
Emergency services attended but could save Mr Wali’s life.
Giving evidence in court, the youth claimed he got the knife out because they were “pushing each other” and he wanted to be left alone.
He said he grew “scared” when Mr Wali called his male friend for “back-up”, and added: “I thought he had something on him, a knife.”
Mr Wali left Afghanistan in 2015 when he was aged 13 and after a short time in Austria he moved to the UK settling in London in 2017.
Scotland Yard said he was described by all those who knew him across all care settings as shy, friendly, polite and respectful to everyone he met.
Detective Inspector Matt Denby said: “Tragically, another young life has been cut short by people who carry knives.
“This was a completely senseless killing. Incidents such as this highlight why tackling knife crime is a priority for the Met, and why we are working tirelessly alongside our partners to bring those who carry knives on our streets to justice.
“It is my sincere hope that Hazrat’s loved ones find a measure of comfort in this conviction. My thoughts are with them and the community who have supported the family throughout.”
The defendant will be sentenced on March 10.