A man jailed for murdering a teenage boy has been accused of “cowardice” after failing to attend his sentencing hearing.
Timothy Adoeye, 20, stabbed 18-year-old Donavan Allen with a kitchen knife at a block of flats in Enfield, north London, on February 7, 2022.
The court heard how the victim was not the intended target of the attack.
In a victim impact statement read in court, Mr Allen’s father asked the killer: “Why did you kill my son?”
The family had gathered at the Old Bailey to see the killer face justice but he refused to leave Pentonville Prison for the hearing.
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Judge Philip Katz KC said his decision showed a “lack of empathy, and cowardice” as he handed him a life sentence with a minimum term of 23 years.
It comes just days after the Government announced plans to force criminals to attend sentencing hearings after child killer Lucy Letby refused to attend hers.
The judge said: “There is no evidence Donavan was involved himself in the dangerous world of drug dealing, which I’m sure was the backdrop to his murder.
“I am 100 percent sure this was a planned attack to some degree to do with drug dealing. It is a mystery as to quite whether it was (over) debt or territory because no one has told the truth about it. I’m satisfied (Adeoye) was out and about with a knife acting as an enforcer.”
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The court heard how Adeoye, who was known as T-Trapz, was caught on CCTV wearing a distinctive skull mask from the Call of Duty game.
He denied killing the aspiring rap artist who died as a result of a single stab wound to his chest.
Mr Allen’s father Orlando said his son was excited about writing lyrics, making rap videos and performing. He said in a victim impact statement: “I was there when he was born and held him with my own hands and I used my own hands to shovel the dirt to bury him. Timothy, why did you kill my son?”
Witnesses described being approached by Adeoye, who was looking for the victim’s friend, wearing a “scary mask or balaclava” and asking for information.
Prosecutor Alan Gardner KC told jurors: “That face mask is an important feature in this case, it is something the defendant wore during the course of the afternoon and at the time of the murder. It was an unprovoked and motiveless attack. There is some evidence that the defendant had an issue with (the victim’s friend), likely connected with drugs, but there is no evidence that he had any issue with Donavan Allen.”
Mr Allen died after collapsing in a stairwell while his friend handed his phone to a neighbour to call 999. He was heard in the background to name the attacker, saying: “It’s T-Trapz. I screwed someone, T-Trapz is looking for me.”
The knife was dumped in a drain outside the block of flats. Jurors were told Adeoye sent a text message to the victim’s friend saying: “Better not (rat emoji).”
Mr Gardner said Adeoye, Mr Allen and his friend were all alleged to have been involved in the supply of cannabis. But the prosecutor told jurors: “Whatever the underlying issues or grievances those involved with this case may or may not have had with each other, fundamentally this case is about a young man losing his life due to the actions of this defendant.”
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