Kamal Hussain, 22, of North West London, dumped his bloodstained clothes in a mosque and pretended to be at prayers
A killer who dumped his bloodstained clothes in a mosque and pretended to be at prayers after stabbing a music producer to death was jailed for 15 years today.
Zahir Visiter, 25, was repeatedly knifed shortly after saying goodbye to his girlfriend at his home in St John’s Wood, north west London.
Kamal Hussain, 21, rode up to Mr Visiter on a Santander bicycle and stabbed him four times, then watched from a distance as members of the public rushed to help.
Hussain donned a balaclava and a hoodie as he fled from the scene and he threw his knife into Regent’s Canal.
Hussain’s co-accused Yosef Ahmed, 18, was cleared of all charges following a three-week trial at the Old Bailey, but Hussain was convicted of manslaughter.
The pair were chased by police before racing into London Central Mosque and barging through evening prayer to barricade themselves in a toilet cubicle.
There they changed into t-shirts and shorts to disguise themselves then ‘mingled’ with worshippers while officers circled the grounds outside.
Police bodycam footage shows Hussain sporting a t-shirt with the words ‘Get Hyped’ in bold print moments after the fatal stabbing.
They both talked their way past police after claiming they were there for evening prayers before fleeing the mosque.
Mr Visiter had earlier received a number of calls which he answered out of earshot of his girlfriend Sarah Akapelwa, leading her to fear he was cheating on her.
Zahir Visiter, 25, was repeatedly knifed shortly after saying goodbye to his girlfriend at his home in St John’s Wood on March 28
But after the last call he asked her to help him count out £280 in cash and left her to hand over the cash to an unknown person on the street outside.
Ten minutes later Ms Akapelwa learnt that her boyfriend had been stabbed.
A neighbour called emergency services who rushed Mr Visiter to St Mary’s Hospital but he was pronounced dead at 7.19pm.
Ahmed denied murder and manslaughter and was cleared of both.
Hussain was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.
He was handed an extended sentence of 17 years today with 15 years imprisonment and another two years on licence after his release.
CCTV images showed Kamal Hussain, inside the London Central Mosque after he carried out the killing
CCTV footage showed the two men entering the mosque on March 20 this year, moments after the fatal stabbing
The court was told Hussain has previous convictions of robbery, carrying a knife and using a weapon in prison.
In a heart-wrenching statement read to the court, Mr Visiter’s father begged the youth of Britain to ‘put down their weapons.’
Leo Visiter said: ‘The impact of this crime is chaos and true heartbreak.
‘The pain is immeasurable, it has destabilised what was a happy and contented family unit.
Hussain (pictured, on CCTV) was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter
‘Not a day passes without the memory of that dreadful day when our son was cruelly taken away form us.
‘I would like to believe that cases such as these show why knife crime should be taken extremely seriously among the youth of today.
‘Sadly it does not seem to make much of a difference to the rise of knife crimes.
‘No words can convey the agony I’m going through.
‘Some of his friends and family and myself are suffering PTSD which could take months or even years to resolve.
‘Our immediate community has been shaken to its foundations. It engenders fear for all: fear for ourselves, fear for our young people.
‘I think of this country as my home but now I do not feel secure.
‘This is the harsh reality of today’s society across Britain.
‘What a sad state of affairs that good children consider arming themselves for their own safety.
‘My only comfort is that some truly good people still exist in this world.
‘I know many faith leaders from within the community who I would like to thank for their support – leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths have reached out to me and offered their support.
‘To the youth of Britain I ask you for the love of God and your country: put down your weapons.
‘End these futile crimes of hate and savagery.
‘Remember you are a son, a brother, a grandson and a future father.’
Defence barrister Edward Fenner said Hussain had had a difficult and unsettled upbringing moving around the country but that he now showed remorse for the killing.
Judge Mark Dennis QC praised the victim’s family for their ‘dignity and composure’ throughout the trial.
The judge said: ‘Shortly before 6.15 on Thursday 28 March Zahir Visiter was seen to collapse to the ground in a quiet residential street.
‘He was bleeding heavily form four deep stab wounds that had been inflicted with a knife just moments before.
‘He left his flat telling his girlfriend he was going to give someone £280.
‘At 6.09 the defendant was recorded on CCTV cycling into Cunningham Place.
‘He was accompanied at all times by co-defendant, Yosef Ahmed who was acquitted by jury.
Police at the scene at the London Central Mosque the morning after the fatal stabbing
‘CCTV caught one of them looking back as if something had caught their attention.
‘At 6.10pm the defendant abandoned his bicycle and made his way on foot into an alleyway into the local estate taking a back route to the deceased’s address.
‘He was stabbed multiple times by the defendant near his home address.
‘The whole confrontation up until the fatal moment lasted no more than three to four minutes.
‘The defendant then ran from the scene taking the knife with him.
‘At 6.15pm a passer-by saw the deceased collapsed in the road and called 999.
‘The defendant took flight [seeing a plain-clothes police officer] and made for the local mosque where he and Ahmed removed their clothing to evade police who soon arrived at the mosque.
Armed police search the mosque near Regent’s Park in London on the evening of March 28
‘The defendant was traced to AirBnB flat in north london.
‘The defendant claimed the deceased had unjustifiably attacked him with a knife and he had pushed him to the ground.
‘The stab wounds must have been inflicted by accident during that struggle.
‘The exact motive of the attack is unknown.
‘It was put in evidence on behalf of the defendant that the deceased was involved in drug dealing and the defendant was a drug user and would attend this estate in connection with his drug use.
‘There is a strong possibility that drug dealing underlies this confrontation however this is yet to be formally established.
‘The family of the deceased should be commended for the dignity and composure they have shown throughout the court proceedings.
‘It cannot be said he was a young man who was vulnerable or easily led.
‘He has maintained his denial after conviction.
Judge Dennis added ‘This was a shocking and cruel attack carried out in broad daylight on a residential estate near a children’s play area where members of the public were likely to pass by.
‘Such gratuitous violence likely cause harm to anyone who witnessed it.
‘You are a young man but over your teenage years you seem to have become attracted to an urban culture which embraces drugs, knives and criminality.
‘Your offending has now cost someone their life.’
James Mulholland, QC, prosecuting, said Mr Visiter suffered four wounds ‘delivered with considerable force’ in the attack.
‘Both of the wounds on the chest were fatal injuries.
‘They penetrated the right lung.
‘The result was massive blood loss and internal haemorrhaging followed by collapse and unconsciousness.
Giving evidence Ahmed said he had been in the area to buy cannabis and only ran because he was ‘frightened and scared’ when Hussain shouted: ‘There’s two undies (undercover police) there, let’s run’.
Ahmed said he spent the next few days with Hussain because he ‘had nowhere else to go’, the court heard.
Hussain admitted they had entered the mosque to change their appearance but claimed it was because they had some cannabis on them and did not want to be searched.
Ahmed, of St John’s Wood, and Hussain, of no fixed address, both denied murder.
Hussain was convicted of the lesser alternative charge of manslaughter while Ahmed was acquitted.
The killer was given an extended sentence of 17 years, with 15 years in custody and another two on license.