Hitchin teen given 21-year jail term for manslaughter after Gumtree laptop seller stabbed to death
- Credit: Archant
A Hitchin teenager has been jailed for 21½ years for his part in a London robbery which led to the killing of a 28-year-old man who ‘had everything to live for’.
Christopher Nzeh, of Fountain Row in Spring Way, was sentenced yesterday after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Michael Adegbite from Chingford. Nzeh, 18, who was cleared of murder in the Old Bailey trial, had previously pleased guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a blade.
The court heard how Michael had been advertising his laptop on classified advertising website Gumtree and was lured to Auckland Close in Enfield by Nzeh and accomplices Montel Ajayi and Isacc Owen-Brady, who had expressed an interest in the computer.
Michael and a friend drove to the meeting on July 19 last year and were approached by the trio, who identified themselves as the buyers.
The laptop was shown to the men and passed between them – but one of the men then produced a ‘folding knife’ and threatened Michael and his friend.
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The university graduate managed to snatch his MacBook back from them and the three would-be-robbers ran off.
However, Michael, who had worked as a fitness trainer, called another friend who happened to live nearby and told him what had just happened to him.
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Michael’s friend then came to meet him at the car carrying a metal bar and a hammer.
The trio then drove round looking for the three men who had tried to rob them.
In a matter of minutes they found the three attackers about a mile away in Lackmore Road, Enfield.
Michael got out the car carrying the iron bar, as witnesses then described seeing Nzeh swing at Michael with a knife but miss.
The teenager from Hitchin then swung again and the blow struck Michael on the chest, who fell to the ground.
Paramedics were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 7.31pm.
Nzeh, Ajayi and Owen-Brady fled, but a passing motorist came across a growing crowd in Lackmore Road and overheard a person saying the men had travelled along nearby Elsinge Road.
He investigated further down the road and saw the trio walking very fast and looking over their shoulders. He followed them while calling police and telling them the location of the suspects. The motorist also took photos of the men, with the images later providing significant evidence.
Ajayi, 19, of Fowley Close in Waltham Cross, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy to commit robbery.
Owen-Brady, 18, of Blossom Lane in Enfield, who pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a blade at a previous hearing in relation to separate charges, was jailed for 12 years in total.
Det Sgt Ben Wayment from the Metropolitan Police said: “Michael was a good person who was targeted by three men who had planned to rob him.
“Although they intended to steal, what was taken was Michael’s life.
“The crime left his family and friends inconsolable and this is a terrible waste of an innocent young life.”
A statement from Michael’s family said: “Michael’s family and friends have been shattered by the decision of Christopher Nzeh to carry a knife.
“Michael had never been in trouble with the police and was a young man who had everything to live for.
“We urge people to think about the tragic consequences that can come from carrying a knife.”