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Man murdered friend in row over stolen motorcycle

The Old Bailey heard how motorcycle theft escalated to murder in London’s Wild West

A 20-YEAR-OLD man has been found guilty of murdering a friend with a 'Rambo' knife a row over a stolen motorcycle.

Tyrone Farquharson, of Archer Road, South Norwood, was found guilty at the Old Bailey yesterday of murdering 20-year-old Kelva Smith in what police called a ‘sudden and violent attack’, after a ‘senseless’ row over a stolen motorbike.

Farquharson reportedly targeted Kelva, who he knew well, on Monday, March 5, after they arranged to meet up in Archer Road at around 4pm that day.

Kelva had reportedly wanted to talk about a motorbike he had stolen from Croydon’s Gordon Crescent several weeks earlier with the intention to sell. However, the bike had gone missing and he had been informed by his brother that Farquharson and a 14-year-old boy had been seen riding it around the area.

Kelva walked to Archer Road with his cousin. On the way there they talked to Farquharson on the phone and were frustrated because they thought he was not being honest about whether he had the bike or if he would return it.

At the arranged meeting location, Kelva and his cousin were approached by Farquharson and two teenagers, where following an angry exchange Farquharson pulled out a ‘Rambo’ style knife, and one of the teenagers held an axe.

The jury head that Farquharson lunged forward and stabbed Kelva five times in total. Kelva and his cousin fleed to the other side of the road, where his cousin tried in vain to fend them off with a piece of wood.

After running from the attackers, Kelva collapsed on nearby Albert Road where members of the public attempted to save him before police, paramedics and the London air ambulance arrived. Despite the best attempts of emergency services, he died on the street at 5.34pm.

Farquharson was later seen by a witness laughing and joking as he walked home after the attack. The following day both he and a fifteen-year-old handed themselves into Lewisham police station. Three days later a fourteen-year-old boy also handed himself in.

Police later found the motorbike – a Yamaha MT125 – that started the argument behind a block of flats on Albert Road.

Detective Sergeant Rob Tickle, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "Kelva Smith died close to his home; ambushed and attacked by someone he once considered a friend.

"This young man lost his life due to a disagreement over a motorbike. He suffered appalling injuries in the middle of a busy street where families live and play.

"This was not a gang-related crime, nor was it postcode-related; it was a senseless and preventable one, committed by Farquarson making poor choices to resolve a dispute by carrying knives and weapons with deadly consequences.

"Now there are two families who are suffering through the wasted potential of young lives close to them, some through the guilty verdicts handed down today and most tragically, through the family of Kelva Smith having to bury their son. This has to stop.

"Since the day of Kelva's murder, individuals accused individuals before the court have sought to frustrate the investigation and have treated the seriousness of the trial with utter contempt and disdain. Shouting from the dock and laughing and joking between themselves, they showed Kelva and his family as little dignity in death as they did in the final moments of his life.

"Today's verdicts also reflect the relentless hard work of the Homicide detectives who continue day after day, to work incredibly hard to ensure that yet another evidentially strong case was put before the court to ensure justice was done."

Alongside the murder charge, Farquharson was also found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon and a sixteen-year-old boy from East Croydon was convicted of possessing an axe but was found not guilty of murder. A fourteen-year-old from south Norwood was found not guilty on all counts.

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