Teenage ‘highwaymen’ guilty of charity worker’s murder in violent spree

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Two teenage robbers likened to “21st century highwaymen” have been found guilty of stabbing a charity youth worker to death during a violent spree on a moped.

Nathan Gilmaney, 19, and Troy Thomas, 18, tried to rob as many people as possible, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake on October 16 last year.

They killed 28-year-old Abdul Samad for his iPhone and little more than “aggression and blood lust” as they swept across west London on a scooter.

Abdul Samad was fatally stabbed despite handing over his valuables (Scotland Yard/PA)
Abdul Samad was fatally stabbed despite handing over his valuables (Scotland Yard/PA)

But Gilmaney got off his moped and stabbed him in the chest anyway, leaving him mortally wounded.

The victim staggered back to his home and collapsed on the doorstep in front of his horrified parents.

The court heard that the defendants were unmoved by the plight of their victim and his “traumatised” family, and prowled the streets for their next target minutes later.

The pair, from Maida Vale, west London, were convicted of murder following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Gilmaney's knife can be seen in this image (Scotland Yard/PA)
Gilmaney’s knife can be seen in this image (Scotland Yard/PA)

He told jurors: “They hoped to steal wallets and valuables from their victims and, where possible, they intended to take their victims’ mobile phones, which they knew they could quickly sell for cash.

“By the end of their four-hour spree of violence, they had committed nine knife-point robberies, they had gratuitously stabbed four of their defenceless victims and they had killed Abdul Samad, a 28-year-old man whose job as a charity youth worker had seen him devote his time to helping the very sort of young men who took his life.”

Troy Thomas was also convicted of murder (Scotland Yard/PA)
Troy Thomas was also convicted of murder (Scotland Yard/PA)

Their pockets were stuffed with stolen valuables and CCTV captured them in the act of riding around and attacking helpless strangers.

Mr Samad’s mobile phone was among stolen items sold on the same night, but recovered during a police search of a flat off Harrow Road, the court heard.

Thomas admitted robbing the victims, but denied responsibility for the violence.

Gilmaney had pleaded guilty to the robberies and violence, but both defendants denied murder.

Gilmaney had admitted manslaughter, but claimed he did not intend really serious harm.

The jury deliberated for more than 19 hours before returning their guilty verdicts.

They rejected Thomas’s claim not to have been involved in the violence and found him guilty of unlawful wounding and three counts of wounding with intent.

Relatives of the victim wept in court as both defendants were found guilty of murder.

Judge Richard Marks QC remanded the teenagers in custody to be sentenced on June 15.

Troy Thomas' flick knife (Scotland Yard/PA)
Troy Thomas’ flick knife (Scotland Yard/PA)

“The teenagers believed they had the right to threaten and rob wherever they wanted, often stabbing their victims for no reason at all but
to prove they could.

“They armed themselves with knives and drove around on Gilmaney’s moped, with the number plates removed, with the aim of stealing as many
wallets, phones and valuables as possible.

“Over the course of just four hours they carried out nine knife-point robberies, stabbed four people and killed Abdul, a charity youth worker and a valued and much-loved member of the community.

“Their behaviour is truly shocking, not least because the fact they had just killed a man and could hear his cries and the paramedics battling to save his life with surgery in the street did nothing to slow down their spree.

“They were caught that same night by police officers who set off in pursuit and bravely tackled them to the ground, knowing them to be armed.

“I commend their bravery and that of all the victims and witnesses who attended court to help secure these convictions today.”

Mr Samad’s mother, Layla Begum, said: “The death of my son has absolutely broken my husband, my eldest son, my entire family and me.

“I will never be able to get over losing a son. I feel like Abdul’s death has caused a hole in my heart and a vital organ of my body is missing. I often feel like a dead woman walking around my home.”

The victim’s girlfriend, Sultana Ahmed, said: “I had known Abdul for 11 years and he had the most amazing personality. He was caring, kind, loving and everyone adored him.

“I had seen Abdul grow into a beautiful human being who always wanted to help people in whatever capacity he could.

“We had many plans for this year and the last thing Abdul said to me was ‘Watch – this year will be our year and we will be a family’.

“He also said ‘I will give my mum and dad the perfect gift in the new year – which is you as a daughter-in-law’.

“Had we both known that this would be our last conversation ever and that he would not call me back as he had promised that night, we would have had a longer conversation.

“I felt like I died with Abdul that day. He took a part of me that will never come back.

“Abdul lived for his job of helping children; he was the change we needed to see in the world, the change he brought because he wanted to brighten the future for the youths of this generation.

“Why would someone hurt him and snatch his life away?”

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