Page last updated at 18:33 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Teenager guilty of murdering Hackney Matalan manager


Jamie Simpson's mother Lorna and father Lambert

A teenager accused of stabbing a Matalan store manager in east London during a failed robbery attempt has been found guilty of murder.

Jamie Simpson was attacked in March 2008 as he cashed up after the Hackney store closed, the Old Bailey heard.

The 33-year-old, from Herne Hill, south London, was stabbed in the neck.

Kobina Essel, 19, from east London was found guilty of murder. Simeon Jumah, Anthony Maina, and a 17-year-old youth, were convicted of manslaughter.

Essel, of Manor Park, told the court he was "panicking" as he stabbed Mr Simpson.

The victim's parents Lorna, 54, and Lambert Simpson, 57, were in court as the verdicts came through.

Roy Williams, 31, of Edmonton, north London, was alleged to have been the gang's "inside man", but was cleared of murder.

Victim Jamie Simpson
Mr Simpson was murdered in March 2008

Jamal Chambers, 18, of Poplar, east London, who was accused of helping to recruit members of the robbery gang, was also cleared of murder, as was alleged getaway driver Duane Owusu, 20, of Manor Park.

Maina, 20, of Canning Town, east London, Jumah, 25, of Manor Park, and the 17-year-old youth, who cannot be identified, had all denied murder.

Last Thursday, Williams, Chambers and Owusu were each found guilty of a charge of conspiracy to rob.

Essel, Maina, Jumah, and the 17-year-old had already admitted the same charge.

In a victim impact statement, the victim's mother Lorna Simpson said: "No sentence can provide justice for the sickening betrayal we've encountered at the hands of his killers.

"We are all living a life sentence ourselves for having such a genuine, caring soul ripped from our world."

Claire Simpson, 22, one of the victim's three sisters, said in a statement: "What's the point in living when there are people like this in this world that just don't care what consequences their actions have, and behave in such a way that makes you question what kind of society this is?

"Is there even a thread of common decency any more?"

The court heard that the group planned to rob the store over the Easter weekend hoping to get up to £30,000.

The manager was stabbed three times, including in the neck which severed his carotid artery and jugular vein, Aftab Jafferjee QC, prosecuting, said.

"Jamie Simpson had been entrusted by the store to look after the takings and he did so with his life," he said.

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