Jailed for life: Drug dealer who boasted ‘I run Ilford’ before murdering Che Morrison with knife outside Ilford Station
PUBLISHED: 11:35 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:58 24 July 2019
A 20-year-old drug dealer who boasted “I run Ilford” before he stabbed fellow 20-year-old Che Morrison to death outside Ilford Station has been jailed for at least 23 years.
Florent Okende, 20, of Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill was this morning (Wednesday, July 24) found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering Che in Cranbrook Road on February 26 this year.
He was sentenced at the same time to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 23 years.
Okende was also found guilty of carrying a bladed article in public and possession of cannabis, for which he was handed 12 month and eight month sentences to be served concurrently.
The jury was told he proclaimed "I run Ilford" before stabbing Che in the upper body after a row began over a bag of cannabis.
The fatal wound was 17cms deep and the knife went through the gap between Che's fourth and fifth ribs.
CCTV images of the incident, captured directly in front of the cash point outside the main entrance to Ilford Station, showed Okende punching Che in the face before pulling out a knife and stabbing him.
Okende claimed during the trial that he had feared for his life and believed Che was reaching for a knife during the fight.
However, CCTV shown to the jury did not back up his account.
During the trial, the court heard that Okende had a long list of previous convictions dating back to 2013, when he was just 14.
These included: robbery; theft; possession of cannabis, MDMA and cocaine; common assault; threats with a bladed weapon; assaulting a police constable; battery; criminal damage and affray.
Immediately after the incident, unaware that Che had died of his injuries, Okende returned to a hotel he was staying at nearby and had a shower before disposing of the clothes he had been wearing during the fight.
He then travelled to Stoke-on-Trent because he claimed he didn't feel safe in the capital.
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But he returned two days later because he wanted to celebrate his birthday in London.
Okende was arrested on suspicion of murder on March 1 after police tracked him on CCTV.
He gave a no comment interview to investigators.
"When the defendant's home address was searched, as well as a quantity of cannabis the police recovered a number of handwritten notes," Prosecutor Jacob Hallam QC told the courtroom.
"The notes glorify violence, inflate the defendant's status within Ilford, speak of his delight in stabbing people, focus on his fondness for stabbing people in the chest and express his hopes to kill someone by stabbing them."
Some of the written material collected included lines such as "I love sticking my blade in lungs" and "everyone knows flows be a top striker, aim for the chest and neck nuttin below" and "Ilford O we run da borough like everyone know".
Okende claimed during the trial that all of those lyrics were written by a cellmate of his during time at Pentonville, naming him only as "D".
But Mr Hallam rubbished this claim during Okende's cross examination.
The prosecutor highlighted to the jury that the notebooks were found in Okende's home and were signed with his signature on the back.
He also asked why, as the pair had been alone together in their cell for 23 hours a day, Okende had never asked D why he was making up such violent and apparently fictional stories.
"Why did you never say, 'hold on a minute here D, what's all this stuff about how I love sticking blades in lungs and making manz scream mum?' said Mr Hallam.
"The brief you say you gave to D was 'write about money', but instead he writes about how cocky you are, and about that one time you stabbed someone and wished he had died amd wanted to go round there and finish the job.
"Didn't you ever mention this to him?"
Okende's only reply to this was, "no sir".
At the time of Che's murder, Okende was wanted by the police for being in possession of a machete.
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