Jury convicts man of murder of 22-year-old Leo Marcus in Woolwich last summer

A man has been convicted of murder after his attempts to carry out a robbery escalated and ended with the fatal stabbing of a 22-year-old man.

Shackim Purnell-Taylor, 19, of Gunyard Mews, Woolwich was today found guilty of the murder of Leo Marcus following a trial at the Old Bailey.

He had pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and robbery at an earlier hearing.

Purnell-Taylor, pictured above, fleeing the scene, will be sentenced on Wednesday at the same court.

The court heard how on July 10, 2019 Purnell-Taylor left his address in Greenwich shortly after 2.30pm and walked a short distance to Tellson Avenue.

It is thought that Purnell-Taylor had received a call informing him a drugs courier would be attending the area – it was Purnell-Taylor’s intention to rob him.

Having seen Mr Marcus arrive on a bicycle and enter an alleyway off Tellson Avenue, Purnell-Taylor – armed with a knife – followed him and immediately attacked him.

He grabbed Mr Marcus from behind, stealing a rucksack from him, before running out of the alleyway and taking Mr Marcus’ bike.

As he tried to cycle off, Mr Marcus emerged from the alley and knocked Purnell-Taylor off the bike. A struggle ensued between the two men, during which Purnell-Taylor stabbed Mr Marcus six times.

He then picked up the victim’s phone and fled the scene on foot – Mr Marcus’ bag was left in the street. Purnell-Taylor then returned home to change his clothes before leaving the area.

Mr Marcus collapsed and called out for help. He was assisted by members of the public until emergency services arrived when he was rushed to hospital, but could not survive his injuries and died later that evening.

Leo Marcus

An investigation was launched by homicide detectives from the Met and, following analysis of CCTV from the area, Purnell-Taylor was identified as the attacker. He was traced to an address in Kennington and arrested on July 14.

When arrested, Purnell-Taylor had a cut on his hand – he claimed this had been done while cooking, but the injury had in fact been sustained during the fight with Mr Marcus.

In interview, he refused to answer questions about the incident, only saying that he did not initially recognise the location when shown images of the scene.

But CCTV, along with phone evidence, placed Purnell-Taylor at the scene and he was charged with murder.

Detective Sergeant Rob Tickle, from Specialist Crime South, led the investigation. He said: “I am pleased with the unanimous guilty verdict reached today and that the jury saw through Purnell-Taylor’s claims that he acted in self-defence.

“He did no such thing. Leo Marcus died at his hands, the victim of an opportunistic and violent street robber, who I have no doubt set out that day carrying a kitchen knife with every intention of using it and did just that, with devastating consequences.

“Leo’s death was a horrific tragedy for him and for his family, a waste of a promising, young life. His family’s dignity throughout this process has been deeply impressive to any of us who have seen it. But it is very clear that their composure conceals searing emotions, which we can only guess at, but which those of us who have not lost a child can barely begin to comprehend or understand.

“I would like to pay tribute to the members of the public and to the emergency services who worked so valiantly in attempting to save Leo’s life, and also highlight the dedication and relentlessness of the murder team detectives who worked tirelessly to bring Purnell-Taylor to justice for Leo’s family.”

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