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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
Profile: Learco Chindamo
Learco Chindamo
Learco Chindamo came to the UK when he was six
Learco Chindamo, 26, is serving a life sentence for stabbing headmaster Philip Lawrence to death outside his school in Maida Vale, north London, in 1995.

He was just 15 when he stabbed Mr Lawrence as the teacher defended a pupil outside St George's Roman Catholic comprehensive school.

Born in Milan in August 1980, it is understood Chindamo was four years old when his parents split up and he moved to the Philippines with his mother.

Chindamo moved to the UK at the age of six. He came to London with his mother, who is from the Philippines, and his two brothers.

He is understood to have had little contact with his father who, it has been reported, is also currently living in Britain.

Chindamo attended infant, junior and secondary school in London.

Gang member

A regular truant, he preferred instead to live within a gang that roamed the burger bars and arcades of west London.

They modelled themselves on the Chinese underground organisations and called themselves the Woo Sang Wu, or Street Warriors.

His solicitor, Nigel Leskin, said: "He was involved in a gang when he was young. He was a kid trying to act up big. He was out of control and he thought he knew everything. He now realises how wrong he was.

At the age of 15 Chindamo murdered headmaster Philip Lawrence and was sentenced to at least 12 years in prison.

He had been arrested four weeks after the murder when police found him hiding at a flat in Kentish Town, north London.

During his trial, his mother sat in the courtroom every day, a few feet away from Mr Lawrence's widow, Frances.


After Chindamo was convicted of murder Det Supt Brian Edwards described the crime as "a tragic example of what can so easily happen when a young man full of bravado, lacking maturity and self restraint, arms himself with a knife".

He added: "We can only hope lessons are learned from this."

Since his conviction, Chindamo has lived in various institutions and prisons in the UK.

Though "illiterate" at school, Mr Leskin said that Chindamo passed GSCEs in maths, English and "a few other subjects", and gained an NVQ in health and social care.

He added: "He has spent time in prison speaking to other people who have come in, younger people quite often, who he sees have committed offences of violence, trying to tell them how stupid they are, they shouldn't throw their lives away like he has thrown his away."

Mr Leskin added that Chindamo, who will be eligible for parole in 2008, "does not know what he wants to do when he is released".

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