Youth jailed for killing ‘bright and talented’ teenager can finally be named

Sam Tobin
·4-min read

A youth who murdered a “bright and talented” 17-year-old in a row over county lines drug dealing can be named for the first time after his appeal against his sentence was dismissed.

Klem Lewis, then 15, knifed Ayub Hassan, known as A1, through the heart in broad daylight in an alleyway in Kensington, west London, in March 2019.

He fled the scene on a Boris Bike as a trainee nurse rushed to help his stricken victim, but Ayub died in hospital just a few hours later, the Old Bailey heard.

Lewis was found guilty of Ayub’s murder and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years’ detention in September 2019, with the sentencing judge also ruling that he should be identified.

But the teenager, now 17, challenged the decision to lift the reporting restrictions, which was opposed by the PA news agency.

His lawyers told the Court of Appeal that identifying Lewis could “create more conflict in the community” and would pose a risk that his family might be attacked.

But, in a ruling last month, Dame Victoria Sharp dismissed Lewis’ bid to keep his anonymity until he turns 18 in July, saying there was “substantial public interest in reporting horrific gang-related murders such as the present”.

The judge – sitting with Mrs Justice Cutts and Mr Justice Saini – said: “The identities of the family members are well known by those who might cause them harm.

“Not naming the applicant would not give his family any greater protection than that which the local authority have provided by relocating them.

“We are also not persuaded that identifying the applicant will create further conflict within the community: it is plain that those who are already causing conflict – gang members – already (know), and know well, his identity.”

The ban on identifying Lewis was extended until this week to allow his lawyers time to consider whether to appeal against lifting the reporting restrictions.

But he can now finally be identified after they confirmed that they were not going to challenge the decision.

Last month, the Court of Appeal also dismissed Lewis’ appeal against his 15-year minimum term, which his lawyers claimed was “manifestly excessive”.

Dame Victoria said: “There is no arguable basis for contending that the minimum term was manifestly excessive having regard to the aggravating features correctly identified by the judge, including, in particular, that the applicant had brought a knife to the scene.”

At Lewis’ trial at the Old Bailey, the court heard he had been in trouble with police since he was aged just 14, with convictions for common assault, dealing Class A drugs and possession of cannabis.

In January 2018 he was caught by an undercover police officer selling crack cocaine and heroin, which led to his conviction that October.

Lewis claimed he acted in self-defence, fearing 12 World gang member Ayub was about to stab him for refusing to deal Class A drugs across county lines.

But jurors found him guilty of Ayub’s murder by a majority of 11 to one and the sentencing judge said Lewis was clearly “the aggressor”.

Judge Anuja Dhir QC told Lewis: “Ayub was a much-loved teenager with his whole life ahead of him and you took that away from him.

“I have no doubt from the way in which you and your companions arrived and your actions in the alleyway that you had deliberately armed yourself with a knife ready to use if and when you decided to do so.

“You were the aggressor. That was clear from your movements before, during and after the fatal stabbing. At one stage Ayub walked away from you but you followed him and you stabbed him once in the left side of the chest.

“In reality, Ayub Hassan did not stand a chance of surviving – the cause of death was a stab wound to the heart.”

In a victim impact statement read out at Lewis’ sentencing, Ayub’s 11-year-old sister described her brother as her “best friend”, saying she suffered from sleepless nights.

Addressing his killer, she wrote: “I’m begging you to admit it and tell us why you did it.”

Ayub’s mother Siraad Aden said he was “cherished dearly” by the whole family.

She said: “Ayub was an exceptional young man who was bright, talented, creative, extremely confident and assertive.

“Yes, like a lot of young men growing up in west London, he had his problems and issues.

“However, to me he was very kind, caring, loving, affectionate and absolutely devoted to his mother, brother and sister.

“The loss of Ayub had left my entire family heartbroken and shattered.”

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