A gifted student who stabbed an autistic teenager to death over a “pathetic” row on social media has been jailed for 21 years.
Paul Akinnuoye, 20, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, traded gay insults with 19-year-old Jordan Wright in a WhatsApp group called “Ice city boyz”.
The defendant called Mr Wright a “batty boy” and he retorted: “On your mum’s life I’m straighter than you.”
The argument led to the pair agreeing to a fight in Shooters Hill, south-east London.
But the victim, who was due to start a construction apprenticeship days later, regarded it as a “fist fight ting”, the court heard.
On the evening of April 19 last year, Mr Wright suffered repeated stab wounds, collapsed and died.
Jurors rejected the defendant’s claim someone else was responsible and convicted him of murder.
At the sentencing, Mr Wright’s mother, Katharine Alade, said her son was a “happy, loving, thoughtful but solitary child” who was on the autistic spectrum.
She said: “Due to his autism, Jordan was not realistic and did not understand the complexities of life and what was going on.
“He did not fully take on board the dangers on the streets these days.”
She described the impact of “one moment of madness”, saying: “There is not one day when I don’t shed tears.”
His father Neville Wright added that his son was just “trying to find himself”.
In mitigation, John Femi-Ola QC said A-grade student Akinnuoye came from an academic family and had thrown away the opportunity to study pharmacy at Brighton University.
He said: “It’s appalling what happened in this case. The life of one boy is gone, his home is destroyed.”
Judge Philip Katz QC jailed Akinnuoye to life with a minimum term of 21 years.
He told him: “This is another family devastated by the untimely death of a young man stabbed to death in public.
“The trigger for this murder was an utterly trivial dispute on a WhatsApp group chat which involved you, Jordan and others.”
The judge condemned the defendant’s friends on WhatsApp who encouraged the fight, saying in hindsight one could only “recoil in horror”.
“Jordan lost his life as a result of this pathetic goading on social media. Jordan’s death was as pointless as it was tragic,” he said.
He told Akinnuoye that his victim did not understand the complexities of life, adding: “Unlike you, he had an innocent outlook on life and did not fully take on board the dangers of knife crime and violence.”