17 June 2024 17:51 Teenager guilty of murder and robbery in west London A teenager has been convicted of murdering and robbing 17-year-old Victor Lee in west London.

A Met investigation into the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old has led to the conviction of a teenager for his murder.

Victor Lee, from North Acton, was described by his family as shy, introspective, easily manipulated and at risk of being exploited by others.

At around 17:30hrs on 25 June 2023, Victor was stabbed near to the Grand Union Canal in Scrubs Lane, W10 and pushed into the canal. Despite local people quickly rescuing him from the water and emergency treatment by police officers and ambulance colleagues, he died at the scene.

Elijah Gookol-Mely, 18 (26.10.05) of Australia Road, W12 was found guilty by a majority verdict on Monday, 17 June of murdering Victor and robbing him following a trial at the Old Bailey.

He will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, 19 July.

Two other teenagers, aged 14 and 15 at the time of the attack, were found not guilty of murder and robbery following the conclusion of the trial.

The Met’s investigation linked him to the murder through extensive analysis of mobile phones and the associated data, as well as CCTV from the area around the crime scene, accounts from witnesses and forensic evidence obtained from the scene and from Victor’s stolen bag discarded nearby.

A knife was recovered from Gookol-Mely’s home address, on which Victor’s blood and the defendant’s DNA was found.

Detectives established that robbery was the motive for the brutal attack with Gookol-Mely stealing Victor’s bike and his rucksack, which officers believe contained a number of knives.

Victor had met his killer having developed an interest in buying weapons online which he wished to sell for profit. Officers believe that Victor did not fully understand the harm that others could cause with the weapons that he appeared to enjoy trading.

The Met’s homicide investigation, led by Specialist Crime Command detectives, made rapid progress, and Gookol-Mely was arrested along with two other teenagers on 30 June 2023. Officers charged each of them the following day with murder and robbery.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie, the senior investigating officer who led the investigation, said: “This conviction was the result of a tenacious and thoroughly professional police investigation, supported by a range of specialists and partners including the Crown Prosecution Service.

“However, I would like the focus today to be on the tragedy that Victor’s family have suffered and on the part that young people being able to easily buy knives and other weapons played in his death.

“Victor was a young man who was not directly involved with gangs or criminality – he had an interest in buying, fixing and selling bikes. He had energy and drive but sadly not enough wisdom. His family have told me that he had an inability to properly assess situations, people or threats.

“When Victor crossed paths with the defendant, he took advantage of him and ultimately subjected him to a sudden, unprovoked and shockingly violent assault.

“Having worked so intensely on this case – speaking to Victor’s family and thinking about his life and tragic death – it will forever be a source of regret to me that this vulnerable but independent young man was able to buy weapons online simply by altering the date of birth in his passport.

“Having previously purchased knives, Victor brought a crossbow online in the days before he was killed, and seems to have sold this to his killer at around 3pm on the day of his murder. He was robbed and murdered when seeking to sell knives to him later that day.

“Apparently unable to grasp the devastating consequences of his actions, he probably regarded this as an interesting scheme to make some money. But, having met his killer after arranging to sell the weapons via Snapchat, this scheme sparked the events which cost him his life.

“Victor had his life ahead of him and his family have been torn apart by what happened to him. They are understandably still struggling to come to terms with his murder, and the events that led to his death at such a young age. My thoughts are with them today, and I can only hope that today’s conviction can bring them some small measure of comfort.”

The lack of remorse shown is demonstrated by a notebook recovered from Gookol-Mely’s prison cell in December 2023, while he was on remand awaiting trial.

The court heard that this contained some handwritten verses, starting: “Everyone on at the 8pm news, ITV, Sky, BBC; Broadcasting the stabbing I done. The people that knew me changed their views. I tried my best to leave no clues. My door got boomed my mum’s confused. No I don’t feel sorry for the yute.’ A later verses includes the lines: “On the phone I’m saying I’m innocent; hop of (sic) the call then laugh in my cell. Aye officer no I didn’t kill him; just stabbed him sent him heaven or hell.”

Young people with information about violence or knife crime can visit fearless.org where they can pass on information anonymously. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the police. They can also provide help or information to support someone who may be involved in knife crime.