Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

Boy killed footballer by mistake

Jahmal Mason-Blair was pronounced dead at the scene
Jahmal Mason-Blair was stabbed as he tried to stop an argument

A 14-year-old boy has admitted killing a promising young footballer by accidentally stabbing him in the neck during a row in east London.

Jahmal Mason-Blair, 17, from Dalston, east London, was stabbed in a Hackney street in May. He died at the scene.

The Old Bailey heard Jahmal had been trying to protect the boy from a youth but the boy accidentally stabbed Jahmal with a knife.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named, admitted manslaughter.

Jahmal's friends said he dreamed of being a professional footballer and he had trials for Reading, Tottenham Hotspur and Watford.

He played for Borehamwood football club, which played a memorial game for him with Crystal Palace.

Waved knife

The court heard that a silver bicycle had previously been taken from the 14-year-old boy.

Jahmal and the boy had been summoned to Hackney's Amhurst Road to collect the bike from the youth on 23 May.

But when they turned up, the boy was hit on the head twice with a wooden plank, it was heard.

The boy took out a flick knife and began waving it around to frighten the youth but accidentally severed Jahmal's artery.

Jahmal died "almost instantly" despite help from police and an air ambulance, the court was told.

Prosecuting, Richard Whittam said: "The carrying of knives by young men has been described as endemic.

There is not one part of our life that has not been touched by the violent and senseless manner of his death
Jahmal's sister Maria Mason

"Tragically Jahmal Mason-Blair, the young man who had been trying to stop the fight, was struck with the knife."

He added: "It appears he had his back to the boy when he swung with his arm and the knife struck."

Jahmal's sister, secondary school teacher Maria Mason, said in a statement: "Jahmal was a young boy whose life was all about family, friends and football.

"Jahmal was a talented football player who was considered to have exceptional skills."

She added: "There is not one part of our life that has not been touched by the violent and senseless manner of his death."

The boy was remanded in custody for reports before sentencing at the end of the month.

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