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Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 17:56 GMT
'Laughing' gang convicted of killing
Three gang members who stopped a student climbing on to a station platform and laughed as a train crushed him to death have been convicted of his killing.
Vicente Delgado, 29, was attacked and knocked on to the tracks at the Shadwell Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station in east London after he asked the mob for a cigarette.
As he desperately tried to scramble to safety the gang kicked him back down and horrified commuters watched as an oncoming Docklands Light Railway train crushed him.
Abdul Shohid, Mokul Hussain, both 21, and 20-year-old Mohammed Islam burst into tears as they were each convicted of his manslaughter and wounding his Mr Delgado's friend Eddis Filho, 23.
Outside the Old Bailey, the investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Maher branded the killers as "pure evil".
He said: "There are no other words for them. It was such a callous and deliberate act to keep Mr Delgado on the tracks.
"Whether they saw the train or not is irrelevant. They must have foreseen the possibility of the victim being electrocuted or being hit by the train," he said.
Mr Delgado and his friend were attacked in an area of east London so plagued by gang violence it has become known as "the Front Line".
Knocked and beaten
The victim, a Portuguese national who came to the UK to study computers, and his housemate Brazilian Mr Filho, left their home in Limehouse, east London heading for a night out in the West End.
When they arrived at Shadwell overland station they approached the group of Asian youths and asked for a cigarette.
The gang of between eight and 15 men threatened the two and chased them back onto the platform.
Mr Filho was surrounded and beaten to the floor.
Shohid then wrestled Mr Delgado to the floor and they both fell onto the tracks.
The killer was helped back onto the platform by the other youths who then stopped Mr Delgado from climbing to safety.
Witness Charles Coventry said: "I could see in the distance the train approaching. It was about 400 or 500 yards away.
"He got within a few inches of the platform before he was kicked back down."
Mr Delgado desperately searched for a way off the rails but the gang shadowed his movements from the platform and laughed as they hurled empty milk crates at him.
The DLR train was unable to stop as it is run electrically and unmanned by a driver.
Mr Delgado's sister, Maria Varela, said her brother's killing has devastated the family.
The defendants, all from the Stepney area of east London, all admitted being on the platform but denied having any part in the violence on 7 March last year.
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