Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 11:57 UK

Killer of street stranger jailed

CCTV still of Mr Bessaad on the street before the attack
Mr Bessaad was stabbed in the back as he walked down the road

A man has received a life sentence for stabbing a stranger to death as he walked down a south London street.

Abdinasir Hassan, 21, from Southwark, started a fight in an internet cafe in June last year but he was overpowered by a group of Algerian men.

He took revenge by fatally stabbing Algerian waiter Hamouda Bessaad, 34, in the back in Old Kent Road. Mr Bessaad was not involved in the earlier fight.

Hassan was ordered to serve at least 15 years for murder, at the Old Bailey.

Pride injured

Prosecuting, Simon Denison QC said Hassan started the earlier fight at the internet cafe "for no reason at all".

But he was overpowered and left bloodied to the face, the court heard.

"It was that injury to his pride that he couldn't get over and he immediately sought revenge, hanging around the area with friends in case any of them returned," Mr Denison said.

Mr Bessaad was walking home from work when Hassan ran up to him from behind and stabbed him in the back "with such force that the blade snapped off".

It was about as cowardly an attack as is possible to imagine
Simon Denison QC, prosecuting

"The defendant must have thought that he was one of that earlier group of Algerian men," Mr Denison said.

"Mr Bessaad had no warning and no chance to defend himself. It was about as cowardly an attack as is possible to imagine."

Hassan then left Mr Bessaad to bleed to death, jurors heard.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Bessaad's wife said: "His life was taken for just walking down the street.

"He didn't know his attacker and his attacker didn't know him."

Sentencing, Judge Richard Hawkins said: "(Mr Bessaad) had nothing to do with the incident in the cafe.

"He was recently married and the loss to his wife and family cannot be described."



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