Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 16:43 UK

Life term for greengrocer killer

Delroy Brown
Brown was said to have been angered by a public humiliation

A car mechanic has been jailed for life for killing a greengrocer in south London in a row over an orange.

Khalilulah Naseri, 25, was stabbed in the chest in January after accusing Delroy Brown of stealing the fruit from his greengrocery store in Brixton.

Brown, from Stoughton Close, Kennington, south London, was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years.

The 39-year-old had denied murder. Old Bailey Judge Giles Forrester told him it was a "vicious and cowardly attack".

Brown had also denied conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

Judge Forrester told him: "There was no motive worthy of the name.

"There had been a trivial incident two days before involving an argument over an orange."

Brown had been in Britain illegally from Jamaica for 10 years when Mr Nasseri was killed.

Khalilulah Naseri
Khalilulah Naseri was stabbed in the heart

Peter Kyte QC, prosecuting, had told the trial: "It is hard to imagine that, even in an age when human life to some people is ascribed little value, this is a case of a young man who was murdered because of a row about a piece of fruit."

Mr Kyte said: "This defendant was publicly humiliated when confronted by a shopkeeper while Mr Brown was in the act of trying to steal an orange.

"He was chased away but returned a couple of days later.

"He came with reinforcements, armed with a knife in revenge."

Brown said he was involved in the earlier incident but denied having a knife or returning to attack the shopkeeper.

He told police he had peeled the orange but found it to be bad.

He said he raised the matter with the shopkeeper, who still wanted 40p for it, while oranges were usually five for 1, he said.

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