Two men who stabbed a 40-year-old to death after he sped away but smashed into a high street traffic light have been handed jail sentences of more than 31 years.
Gavin Garraway, 40, was fatally stabbed in his car in front of his brother outside the Belle Vue pub in Clapham High Street on Friday, March 29 last year.
Zion Chiata, 20, of the Patmore Estate, Battersea, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 21 years for murder yesterday at the Old Bailey.
Tishaun Panton, 22, of Cottage Grove, Clapham, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years years for Gavin’s manslaughter.
Chiata was convicted on June 8 following a retrial at the Old Bailey. At the conclusion of the first trial in October 2019, he was found guilty of possession of an offensive weapon.
Chiata had previously pleaded guilty to Mr Garraway’s manslaughter, but this plea was not accepted by the prosecution.
The court heard how at shortly after 2.30pm on March 29 last year, Gavin was driving with his brother through the Clapham Common area and turning into Clapham Park Road when Chiata and Panton – who were on foot – suddenly began to pursue his car.
Anticipating an attack on himself and his brother – having seen the pair chasing after him – Gavin tried to turn his car around, but he crashed it into a traffic light, bringing the vehicle to a stop.
Panton and Chiata approached the car, with the latter pulling out a large knife, preparing to attack.
Chiata launched his attack at Gavin through the open window, stabbing him three times in quick succession.
At the same time Panton used the crutch he had with him and began to hit Gavin and his car with it.
During the attack, Gavin’s brother tried his best to defend him with a crutch he too had been using.
The violence lasted no longer than 10 seconds, with Chiata then fleeing the scene, while Panton remained at the vehicle for a further five seconds, continuing to attack Gavin with the crutch.
A police officer arrived minutes after the attack where he, with the support of some off-duty nurses, gave first aid.
Paramedics arrived a short time after. But Gavin’s injuries were too severe and he was pronounced dead shortly before 3.30pm. A post mortem examination later gave the cause of death as a stab wound to the abdomen.
CCTV footage clearly captured both Chiata and Panton before, during and after the attack.
Chiata was arrested at his home on April 2 last year on suspicion of murder, having been forensically linked to the crime scene, and for possession of a bladed article.
Panton was arrested at his home on April 12 on suspicion of murder after being identified through telephone evidence.
They both were charged and remanded in custody prior to the first trial in October 2019.
Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson, who led the investigation, said: “This 15-second attack not only ended Gavin’s life, but also sentenced his family to a lifetime of sadness and loss.
“This punishment shows the consequences of carrying a knife. I am relieved the jury discounted Chiata’s defence that he simply “lost control” and rightly convicted him of a terrible murder.
“I hope this sentence gives a tiny bit of relief to Gavin’s family who have not only lost him because of the reckless behaviour of his killers, but have also had to endure the pain of two trials.
“I urge anyone planning on taking a knife on to the streets of London to look at this case as an example of the very real, possible consequences of that decision.
“You will get caught, your life and the lives of those you love will be bitterly ruined, and you will lose your freedom. No good can come of it.”
Chiata was given life imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years (less time served). The second defendant Panton, had been convicted of Gavin’s manslaughter at the first trial – his sentencing had been postponed pending the outcome of Chiata’s retrial.
No separate sentence was given in relation to the count of possession of a bladed article and two counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
Top: The Belle Vue pub in Clapham High Street, outside which Gavin Garraway was stabbed to death
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